Torch-lit protests against awarding the EU the Nobel Peace Prize ahead of ceremony tomorrow
10:30 GMT, 10 December 2012
Around 1,000 protesters marched in Oslo yesterday against the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union.
Peace and human rights campaigners and members of political groups held the torch-lit protest as various EU leaders arrived in Norway, where they will collect the award today.
The protesters argued the EU is undemocratic and maintains a large military even as it suffers an economic downturn.
No price: Thousands joined the protest in Oslo against awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, under the banner 'EU2012: No peace prize for our time'
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is Britain’s representative for the event, joining the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
The Oslo protesters argued that the EU is undemocratic and maintains a large military even as its people suffer an economic downturn.
‘Alfred Nobel said that the prize should be given those who worked for disarmament,’ Elsa-Britt Enger, 70, a representative of Grandmothers for Peace said. ‘The EU doesn’t do that. It is one of the biggest weapons producers in the world.’
Protesters marched under the banner ‘EU2012: No peace prize for our time’
Pro peace: The protestors claim the EU is the opposite of a worthy recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize
Not welcome: The rally went through the Norwegian capital and past the Grand Hotel where representatives who are accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the EU, including Nick Clegg, are staying
Past winners: Last year's Nobel Peace Prize winners Yemeni human rights activist Tawakul Karman, left, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during last year's ceremony
Past prize winners Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Mairead Maguire have also said the EU does not deserve the award and that it contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security.
Norway’s Socialist Left party, part of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s government, joined the march.
Critique: Liam Fox said it was simply ironic that the EU was awarded the price
The Oslo-based Nobel peace committee gave its 2012 prize, worth 750,000, to the EU for uniting the continent following two world wars and to give it a boost as it tries to overcome its economic crisis.
‘The EU brings lasting peace among former enemies who fought, among others, two world wars,’ EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said yesterday.
But former Tory cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox will attack the ceremony in a speech on the EU today.
‘It is fittingly ironic that with the Euro crisis rumbling on, the EU economy stalling and the continuing inability of EU leaders to reach a budgetary agreement, that Jose Manuel Barroso will be taking time out tonight to accept plaudits for half a century of success when the EU receives the Nobel Peace Prize,’ he will say.
‘Tonight’s spectacle is as clear an example as you can get of the parallel universe that the Commission and the unelected political class of Brussels live within.’
Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament President Martin Schulz will accept the prize on behalf of the whole EU at Oslo City Hall.