Viewpoint: Europe must lead global peace drive - Barroso


'Be vigilant' of Europe's old demons, warns EU Commission chief Barroso

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The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has told the BBC that the Nobel Peace Prize gives the EU authority to lead peace efforts worldwide. Here is his viewpoint on the award, which he and other EU leaders are receiving in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Monday.

Being in Oslo to jointly receive this award on behalf of the European Union is an honour and a humbling experience.

Start Quote

The irony is that the euro... risks driving some countries further apart”

End Quote Mats Persson Director, Open Europe think tank

This is an award for the European project - for the people and the institutions - that day after day, for the last 60 years, have built a new Europe.

It is a good moment to remind ourselves of what the European Union has done:

  • It brings lasting peace between former enemies who fought many devastating wars on the continent including two world wars;
  • It brings lasting freedom, justice and democracy for 500 million people, including for so many that lived under dictatorship and totalitarian regimes;
  • And it does so in a unique manner: by creating a political system that brings us together across national borders in a supranational community, through the sharing of sovereignty.

I know that some have asked why, why now?

Well, Thorbjoern Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, summed it up perfectly on the day of the announcement (and again just now - and I wish to thank him warmly for his words). "This is the right moment to give a clear message to Europe to preserve what we have achieved… This is a prize to have a better organised world, to have stability and peace."

We will honour this prize and we will preserve what has been achieved. It is in the common interest of our citizens. And it will allow Europe to contribute in shaping that "better organised world" in line with the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law that we cherish and believe in.

The last 60 years have shown that Europe can unite in peace. Over the next 60 years, Europe must lead the global quest for peace.

Mr Barroso spoke to the BBC Hardtalk programme in Oslo. You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Monday 10 December at 0430, 0930, 1530 and 2130 GMT, on the BBC News channel on Monday 10 December at 0430 GMT and Tuesday 11 December at 0030 GMT. You can also watch the interview on the BBC iplayer and you can download a podcast. .


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  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    A country shouldn't need help with the fact that killing in the name of a flag, religion, or commodity is wrong. We have our own issues, we have MPs wasting the country's money with no accountability and we have a refusal to support commerce. It seems that Mr Baroso wants us all to pay to 'enforce' peace. We'll no doubt be asked for Spain, Italy's and Greeces share as well and we don't have it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    "Europe must lead the global quest for peace"

    Think of the european armaments sold or given to dodgy terrorists, and regimes, or the dropping of bombs from british and french jets.

    Peace??? This person and his cronies don't want peace.

    I never voted for you, and your destructive policies will never be in my name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    "Its easy to forget that this is the longest period the major European states have not been involved in a war."

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    Below is a link to a whole wikipedia article about why you are talking out of your hat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    #29 Phffft - The Great Depression was much worse than the current recession and with no recourse to coordinate reaction to the crisis. You need one eye on history to know how bad things can get.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Agree with #25.
    So instead of fixing the UN we make a new group to do the job and keep paying both.
    What a world we live in.
    Idiots in charge everywhere I look.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    One crackpot organization which has lost all prestige nowadays giving an award to another crackpot but a dangerous one. The latter has also proven itself to be nothing but economically incompetent and a leech on the taxpayers of all European nations. It is also distastefully evermore autocratic.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    How can European Union be called a success with mass unemployment in the southern Nations & more to come.The euro,has kept Germany's factory's flat out because its a cheap currency relative to them.With the opposite result in southern Lands,.Their currency needs to devalue to make value,in that natural age old cycle of economic life.NATO gave us the protection that the EU was born under.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Its easy to forget that this is the longest period the major European states have not been involved in a war.

    At least for the last two hundred and fifty years. Probably substantially longer but my history fails me :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The European project has been a success to date, no doubt averting the clash of nations that could have been, possibly saving millions of lives and entire economies. To deny our past and our repeated fallibilities is pure ignorance and an insult to the peace-seeking visionaries that paved the way to a more stable future. Long live the European Union, which despite controversies is a force for good

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Um... for 40 of those 60 years I'm pretty sure there was something dividing Europe. Some kind of wall/ curtain? Something about pesky stockpiles of nukes and being seconds away from mutually assured destruction. Didn't realise it was actually a wonderfully peaceful and united Europe built by the EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    18. Mark
    So what is the United Nations for?


    Not much.

    As long as the UN Security Council's five permanent members -- US, UK, Russia, China and France -- can veto any substantive resolution (e.g., recognition of a Palestinian state), the UN is largely useless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Peace prize?

    It could have been worse, They could have given the EU the prize for economics!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Sorry for the delay Pluribus I have to work for a living. You are creating a false dichotomy between War and Peace under the EU model. The main reason we are seeing a growth in radical parties is precisely because the EU does not allow for alternative visions of its future. If you vote No they just ask you to vote again. It's no wonder people are becoming disillusioned with the political class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Legal mummery, Nato is Europes defence guarantee, and the EU is not. The EU has stood by when conflicts such as the Balkan Wars erupted on its own borders, and would be paralysed if anything happened again .... it relies on the UK (and France when it suits), to actually send fighting men, the rest just hide in bunkers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    It's quite shocking that people lay the blame of non-intervention in the break up of the Yugoslavia at the feet of the EU incompetence when it was over reliance on American military infrastructure and logistic support via NATO that proved during this time to many that the military powers of Europe would and could not act independently without American backing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Still waiting for a proposal for a better option, so in the meanwhile I'll continue to enjoy peace, kept together by this unperfect union. Radical parties are sadly gaining popularity because people are eager to believe that there's an easy solution to problems. Barroso, who gets his mandate from the European Parliament, which is elected by EU citizens, hardly is the cause of that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    What a load of self important c$%p.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    So what is the United Nations for?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    I think the guy needs sacking, didn’t he say he was talking with Greece on a daily basis for THREE YEARS to resolve this issue.
    What have they been discussing all this time, what wines to drink and what rare (AND EXPENSIVE) foods to eat at the next cosy meetings????

    Get out now before we all come crashing down.


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