Thursday

29th Jun 2017

Barroso and Van Rompuy win battle for Nobel limelight

The EU has choreographed an elaborate solution to the conundrum of who should pick up its Nobel peace prize.

Under the plan, agreed in the margins of an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (18 October), European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy will accept the gong and make speeches at the gala in Oslo in December.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The choreographed decision comes after a week of wrangling (Photo: OZinOH)

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz will go with them but will not speak.

The 27 EU leaders are to sit in the audience, but diplomats doubt whether all of them will actually turn up.

"To mark this joyful occasion I hope all EU heads of state or government will be able to join celebrations in Oslo in December," Van Rompuy tweeted on Thursday.

"If the heads of state and government go to Oslo to watch, to applaud, I find that quite nice," Schulz told press.

The Nobel prize money of just under €1 million - which works out at a fifth of one centime for each of the 500 million EU citizens - will go to an as yet unidentified charity.

Over dinner on Thursday, leaders batted around alternative ideas for the gala.

Denmark, Finland and the UK liked EU commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom's suggestion to send 27 children instead. The Finnish foreign minister proposed sending 27 World War II veterans along with them.

But the more creative options did not fly.

The summit comes just one week after the Nobel committee made its decision.

At a summit dominated by bad bank and bailout worries, diplomats joked that the EU has no ambitions to win a Nobel for economics.

On a more serious note, Van Rompuy said: "Many [EU leaders] referred to the Nobel prize as a tribute for the Union's past achievements and an encouragement for the future."

French President Francois Hollande noted that the group-of-27 must "make Europe prevail over national interests."

Meanwhile, the Nobel is already being used as a stick with which to beat the EU over its failures to live up to values.

Kenneth Roth, the head of the US-based NGO Human Rights Watch, also on Thursday tweeted that the EU needs to do more for refugees to merit the prize: "to live up to Nobel honor, EU should do better job welcoming refugees fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia."

There are "170,000 Syrians in Turkey but Nobel winner EU had a fit when they let 300 cross to Greece" the NGO added in a second tweet.

Opinion

A new narrative for Europe

Few could dispute the Nobel committee’s assessment the EU has helped turn a continent of war into a continent of peace, but many have questioned its timing.

Six EU leaders to skip Nobel gala

Six EU leaders, including the UK, are to skip the Nobel gala next month, as criticism of the award multiplies.

Slovenia and Croatia reignite border dispute

Croatia said it would not apply a ruling to be delivered by the international arbitration court on Thursday. Slovenia appeals to the EU to pressure its neighbour.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  2. EU2017EEGet the Latest News from the 2017 Estonian EU Council Presidency @EU2017EE
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  4. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  5. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  6. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  7. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  8. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  9. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  10. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  11. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  12. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!