I’m glad I was already mid-editing my LinkedIn profile. I have a new honour to add – I just won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yes, it’s official. The European Union has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012.

Of course, much like when Obama won, this has met with derision from many. I’ll admit, the announcement bemused me for a moment. But I do believe that this prize is merited.

The Prize is awarded to the person or organisation that has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. Most EU Council meetings have at least an element of this – they are strongly akin to the Peace Congresses of the pre-war period…and to see 27 national leaders, all of whom lead countries which have previously been embittered by conflict with the others, in peaceful negotiation over their disputes, as opposed to armed conflict, is surely a sight for sore eyes.

Europe – a continent at war for centuries – is now in a state of perpetual peace. Because of the EU and its forerunner, the European Coal and Steel Community, war on this continent is unthinkable.

The EU’s normative agenda has spread from those original six Member States, down the Iberian peninsula into former fascist states, across Central and Eastern Europe’s former Communist dictatorships, and now is working its way across the war-torn Balkans.

As Liberal Democrat MEP Ed McMillan-Scott said,

“The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU is recognition of the transformative power of the European project that brought a war-torn continent back to prosperity and through its enlargement process helped to spread democracy and freedom to the former Soviet bloc and is a model for reform worldwide.

 

“MEPs now have a decisive say on the EU’s international trade agreements and democracy and human rights are a cornerstone of our approach.

 

“In the latest survey of 25,000 European citizens by Eurobarometer, spreading democracy and human rights across the world was seen to be the most important task of the European Union.

 

“We must take this award as an encouragement to stand up for our values and redouble our efforts. We are grateful to the Nobel Committee on behalf of our constituents who must share in this award. At least we will be able to collect the award, unlike other prize winners in the past such as Andrei Sakharov, Aun San Suu Kyi and most recently Liu Xiabao.”

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