Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Why I Cannot Support the Nobel Prize for the EU

Mairead Maguire

Alfred Nobel was a visionary who believed in a demilitarized peaceful world. In his will, he left his Nobel peace prize to those who would work for “fraternity among nations,” “abolition or reduction of standing armies,” and “holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

In Nobel’s will, the award for peace was to go to champions of peace, those working to replace militarism with international order based on law and the abolition of national military forces. Nobel’s vision and dream was to replace the power of militarism and war, with the power of law.

I believe the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union does not meet the criteria of Alfred Nobel and his vision of a demilitarized peaceful world.

In many ways the European Union has done much in the past sixty years for peace and reconciliation among nations, but sadly, it has done little for the demilitarization of Europe.

While the EU imposes severe austerity measures upon many EU countries, it simultaneously supports the growing militarization of Europe by its support for the US and NATO, which are guilty of war crimes against Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It continues to support U.S. nuclear weapons, which are held in six EU nations. It supports arms sales from European states (such as the UK and Germany) to countries around the world.

Instead of upholding human rights for Palestine, the E.U. has rewarded Israel by giving them special trading status and huge grants (from EU taxpayers money) for its military research and weapons. Thus it enables Israel to continue it illegal policies of occupation and apartheid of Palestine.

I cannot support this decision to give the Nobel peace prize to the EU. I appeal to the Swedish Foundation Authority to hold the Nobel Committee accountable for giving, yet again, a political award instead of supporting people who take courageous, and often dangerous, stands to help move the human family away from military-based relations to relations based on peace and nonviolent conflict resolution.

I believe that the reform of the Nobel Peace Committee is now necessary. As is the case of all other Nobel prize committees which are made-up of experts in their particular field, perhaps it is time for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to be comprised of people experienced in the field of peacemaking, international law and nonviolence.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire

Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, "The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland" (2010, edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama). She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Betrayal!' Uproar After EU Backs Industry Push to Label Gas and Nuclear 'Green'

"This is a step backwards in the fight against greenwashing and a step away from the sustainable future the E.U. has promised, but we are not defeated," campaigners said.

Jake Johnson ·


'Shameful': GOP Colluding With Autocratic Orban Government to Tank Global Tax Deal

One watchdog group slammed Republicans for "choosing to sabotage the United States' ability to tax corporations effectively and conspire with foreign governments."

Jake Johnson ·


DOJ Sues to Prevent Arizona's 'Onerous' Proof of Citizenship Voting Law

Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke said the law "constitutes a textbook violation of the National Voter Registration Act."

Brett Wilkins ·


House Progressives Urge Reforms to 'Hold These Rogue Justices to Account'

Recent rulings by the Supreme Court's right-wing majority have made clear the need for substantive changes, including expansion, argues Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Win for Wildlife' as Federal Court Restores Endangered Species Protections Gutted by Trump

"In the midst of a global extinction crisis, the court's decision to vacate the rules will help ensure that imperiled species receive the protections they desperately need," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo