Saturday

6th Jun 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration

"No significant progress" has been made on the latest round of talks between the UK and EU on how their relationship should look from January, according to Michel Barnier. The EU told UK to stick to its prior commitments.

News in Brief

  1. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration

"No significant progress" has been made on the latest round of talks between the UK and EU on how their relationship should look from January, according to Michel Barnier. The EU told UK to stick to its prior commitments.

Green Deal

CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find

The European Court of Auditors has urged the European Commission to establish measurable commitments to tackle biodiversity loss caused by intensive farming - as the Common Agriculture Policy has so far failed to reverse this long-standing issue.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us