published: 12.10.2012, 14:46 | updated: 12.10.2012 14:46:53
Prague - The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 to the European Union has met with positive reactions of Czech representatives, but also criticism and embarrassment at the prize not going to a concrete person.
The awarding of the EU is an absolutely correct decision as the EU has contributed to its member states using only peace methods to solve problems, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) told CTK.
At the same time, however, he said he would be happier if the prize went to a personality for his/her contributions.
Nevertheless, the EU is undoubtedly "the work of peace" that came into being after the experience with the two world wars, Schwarzenberg said.
President Vaclav Klaus, on a visit to Poland, has not yet commented on the Norwegian Nobel Committee´s decision.
"The president does not believe it, he considers it a joke," Klaus´s spokesman told server novinky.cz earlier today when the Norwegian NRK television predicted that the EU will win the prize.
This eventually came true. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the EU for promoting peace and democracy in Europe and for its historic role in uniting the European continent.
Lubomir Zaoralek, deputy head of the Czech senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), welcomed the decision.
He said it is necessary to remember the EU´s contribution to the non-conflict setup of Europe now that the EU has been weakened by the economic crisis.
"If an opposite trend appeared, borders could start to be drawn in Europe again, which always led to tension and war conflicts," Zaoralek said.
The Forum 2000 Foundation, initiated by the late former president Vaclav Havel, views the awarding of the EU as an appreciation of the EU´s original ethos as a project aimed to secure permanent peace.
"We also appreciate the Nobel Committee´s evident aim to support the European integration efforts at the present period which is obviously a critical time, with certain attempts to redefine joint European values emerging," Ivo Silhavy, from Forum 2000 Foundation´s board, said.
Vaclav Havel Library director Marta Smolikova voiced surprise at the Nobel Committee´s decision.
One can agree with it, but still the prize should not go to institutions but rather to personalities for whom it is not a duty to strive for peace. The Nobel Prize should not go to those for whom peace efforts are a part of their work, but those who contributed to peace without being bound to do so, said Smolikova, referring to Havel´s opinion.
Czech Helsinki Committee chairwoman Anna Sabatova said she clearly approved the EU´s awarding.
"I consider it a very strong gesture. I welcome it very much. The EU is a peace project. This is a reminder of European values," Sabatova told CTK, adding that people sometimes tend to forget and take peace as a matter of course.
Jan Zahradil, a Eurosceptic MEP from the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), was critical towards the decision.
"I did not expect the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize to show so great a sense of humour again and to continue following its previous line of awarding the prize to [U.S.] President [Barack] Omaba for nothing. However, I´m afraid that only few will understand this joke," Zahradil told CTK.
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