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 156.

    No one takes the EU seriously when it come to foriegn affairs.

    The fact that a back becher named Catherine Ashton is their front person is proof of that.

    She is clueless and should be working at a job which takes little brain since she had demonstrated her lack of said organ.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    If the committee had really wanted to honour the organisation that brought peace to Europe it would have given the award to NATO. The EU is a product of that peace not the cause of it as its own vast sense of arrogance and manifest destiny makes out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    What a bunch of complete piffle spoken by a self serving eurocrat interested in elevating his own position in the pecking order of a system of absolute falsity. Imagine you had never seen the EU before, and then someone described it, what would you think? We Brits should leave this farce and pour our money into something with a return.

  • Comment number 153.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    This downrating of posts by those opposed to further EU integration has become a recurring theme. I am not by nature a conspiracy theorist nor particularly anti the EU as a trading bloc but the ratings on this HYS are so out of kilter with the actual posts it certainly smacks of concerted action by a group of believers. So much for democracy and debate about the EU !


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