The Straits Times
Published on Oct 12, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize a boon as EU faces testing times


BRUSSELS (AFP) - The Nobel Peace Prize comes at a testing time for the European Union, which has brought the continent peace and democracy for over half a century but is struggling to weather its biggest crisis since the bloc was created in the 1950s.

"It is an honour that should have come a long time ago," said Mr Jean-Dominique Guiliani, head of the Robert Schuman Foundation, set up to honour the French politician who drove the first steps towards the EU more than 60 years ago.

Long-time adversaries France and the then West Germany agreed in 1950 to put their coal and steel industries under a single authority to show, in Mr Schuman's words, "that a war between France and Germany becomes not only unthinkable but materially impossible".

The European project "calmed a continent scarred by wars whose horrors culminated in the 20th Century with two world wars among the most terrible of them all," Mr Guiliani said.