Around Europe ordinary people have been reacting to the idea that they are sort-of Nobel peace prize winners after the EU won the honour.
In Germany,going through its worst bout of euroscepticism in decades, most thought ending war was the number one big positive of the EU experiment.
“Since 1945, we have had no big wars in Europe anymore. I believe that it’s thanks to the EU that it stayed this way up until today”, said passer-by Hans-Peter Hansen.
“I don’t know why they received the prize. They didn’t work too hard towards achieving peace. I am sure other people would have deserved it more,” sad Rolf Dillenberger.
In France, one of the EU’s key states, the symbolic importance of the prize was lost on no-one, nor the vital improvement in relationships between Germany and France.
“We know that, in the past, when people put aside this idea of a Union it opened a path to nationalism, opened the way for parties from the extremes with politics which would lead to war. So this Nobel Peace Prize for a Union which for over 65 years has kept peace within this beautiful continent is certainly a beautiful image, a beautiful thing,” said Yannick Comenge from Paris.
“A Nobel Prize is something symbolic and as a symbol it is more appropriate to give it to a human than to an entity whatever it might be, and however important towards peace its action is,” said Parisian Laurent.
The Spanish have much to complain about at the moment and many of their criticisms are aimed at Brussels, so their enthusiasm was more low-key.
“The EU does not deserve it , it has done nothing for example in the case of Syria,” said Mikel from Catalonia.
“The EU getting a Nobel peace prize doesn’t give me anything to eat or put food on my table,” said balloon seller Juan.
Ordinary Greeks do not have a good word to say for the EU right now, convinced that Brussels and Berlin are punishing them for crimes their leaders tried to get away with.
“What unity my dear? With the inequality that exists within the countries of the European Union? With the northern countries disliking the southern countries? “ said jeweller Stelios Vasilakopoulos.
“I don’t believe it has been helping the stability at all, because if it had been we would not be in the mess that we’re in,” said English teacher Stamo Valis.
It all again shows that while the EU is admired abroad as a fantastic and almost unbelievable project, at home it is little-loved by some of those living within its borders.
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