The European Union’s three presidents are in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for its transformation from a continent in war to one in peace.
There has been much criticism of the Nobel committee’s decision because of the economic crisis the bloc is currently mired in but the European Council President’s is confident that positive change is coming.
“Europe is going through a difficult period. We are working hard, jointly as a union, and in all individual member states, to overcome these problems. And I’m sure we will succeed, we want Europe to again become a symbol of hope,” said Herman Van Rompuy.
The crisp, cold air in the Norweigan capital has not chilled enthusiasm for the Nobel Peace Prize, but like elsewhere, people have mixed feelings about this year’s recipients.
“I think it’s good for everyone to be together and I think the EU as a whole is stronger, so I think they deserve the prize,” enthused one man.
But another shopper in the capital disagreed: “Well, we think there are many other people who work for peace, perhaps better than the EU. The EU is so impersonal.”
Our correspondent in Oslo, Isabelle Kumar says:
“Amid an acute economic crisis, growing social unrest, increasing division between member states, the EU could appear a dubious choice. Following the controversial decision to award the peace prize to President Obama in 2009, some warn the Nobel committee is skating on thin ice.”