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EU critics slam Nobel Peace Prize decision

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union has been met with disdain by so-called euroskeptics, who view the 27-nation blog as both impotent and meddlesome.

By Jill LawlessAssociated Press / October 12, 2012

A European Union flag waves in the wind in front of the chancellery in Berlin Friday, after the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Markus Schreiber/AP

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London

While some Europeans swelled with pride when the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize, howls of derision erupted from the continent's large band of skeptics.

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To many in the 27-nation bloc, the EU is an unwieldy and unloved agglomeration overseen by a top-heavy bureaucracy devoted to creating arcane regulations about everything from cheese to fishing quotas. Set up with noble goals after the devastation of World War II, the EU now appears to critics impotent amid a debt crisis that has widened north-south divisions, threatened the euro currency and plunged several members, from Greece to Ireland to Spain, into economic turmoil.

What were they thinking?

The vocal anti-EU politicians known as euroskeptics burst into a chorus of disdain.

"First Al Gore, then Obama, now this. Parody is redundant," tweeted Daniel Hannan, a euroskeptic European lawmaker — yes, such things exist — from Britain's Conservative Party. President Barack Obama won the peace prize in 2009, less than a year after he was elected, while Gore, a former U.S. vice president, was the 2007 recipient for his campaign against climate change.

Nigel Farage, head of the U.K. Independence Party — which wants Britain to withdraw from the union — called the peace prize "an absolute disgrace."

"Haven't they had their eyes open?" he said, arguing that Europe was facing "increasing violence and division," with mass protests from Madrid to Athens over tax hikes and job cuts and growing resentment of Germany, the union's rich and powerful economic anchor.

And Dutch populist lawmaker Geert Wilders scoffed: "Nobel prize for the EU. At a time (when) Brussels and all of Europe is collapsing in misery. What next?"

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