On two occasions - after the convulsion in the international system caused by World War II and the upheaval caused by the end of the cold war - closer cooperation in the framework of what has become the EU was an unequivocal statement that Europe is committed to peace and security between its member states.
The EU is based on core European values of peaceful coexistence, democracy and cooperation, rather than nationalism and protectionism. Today’s strong relationship between the historical contenders Germany and France, as well as between former cold war adversaries, are two striking examples of this.
At a moment of rising economic and political uncertainty within the EU and unfolding violent conflicts and humanitarian crises on its doorstep, the decision of the Nobel Committee is a valuable reminder of the EU’s purpose and positive achievements.
There has not been an armed conflict between members of the EU (or its forerunners) since the end of World War II, building domestic peace for over 500 million EU citizens.
‘The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize reminds us that the European Union is the most successful example of peacebuilding ever achieved in world history,’ stated Tilman Brück, SIPRI’s incoming director.
‘However, the European Union must come to terms with its increased global responsibilities and the urgent need for more effective European institutions in the fields of international peace and security.
‘To be relevant for its citizens and to become a significant global player, the European Union must achieve peace and prosperity abroad as well as at home.’