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Why I Cannot Support the Nobel Prize for the EU

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.


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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.

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 (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:

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