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.
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The sound of one hand clapping
Britain, which has been an EU member since the 1970s but likes to keep an English Channel-wide distance between itself and the union, gave a muted reaction. Prime Minister David Cameron's office had no comment — a safe policy for the leader of a Conservative Party deeply divided between pro- and anti-EU camps.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Nobel Peace Prize 2011
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The Foreign Office noted, tersely, that the award "recognizes the EU's historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Europe, particularly through its enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe. The EU must always strive to preserve and strengthen those achievements."
Conservative lawmaker and former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind, whose party is deeply divided on Britain's role in the EU, probably spoke for many Britons when he called the decision slightly eccentric.
"If they want to give the prize for preserving the peace in Europe, they should divide it between NATO and the EU," he said. "Until the end of the Cold War, it was NATO more than anyone else that kept the peace."
Others praised the union's role in reuniting post-Communist Europe but pointed out its greatest failure — the inability to halt the bloody Balkan wars that raged just outside the EU's borders during the 1990s.
What's in it for me?
Some Europeans wondered whether all of the EU's 500 million residents could claim a share of the glory — and the $1.2 million prize money.
"As a member of the EU, I am delighted to accept the Nobel Peace Prize," joked British playwright Dan Rebellato on Twitter. "I shall keep it in the spare room, in case people want to look at it."
BBC business correspondent Robert Peston wondered whether everyone in the EU would get a share of the prize money, which works out to about a quarter of a cent per person.
"What will you spend yours on?" he asked followers on Twitter.