Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

Europe

Eurosceptic's illness cleared way for EU Nobel prize

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-12

Norwegians and EU citizens alike were surprised by the Oslo-based Nobel Committee’s decision to award the European Union the 2012 peace prize. But as it emerged on Friday, the choice might never have been made if it wasn’t for one member’s illness.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union could easily be described as out-of-character for the continent’s most eurosceptic nation and one of the few countries in Europe that does not actually belong to the 27-nation bloc.

But that might be because the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides on the peace prize each year, was missing its in-house eurosceptic this week due to illness. With a less stringent replacement, the remaining members of the group – who have been musing an EU award for some time – saw their chance.

The in-house europhobe in question, Aagot Valle, joined the committee in 2009 with a pledge that she would never allow the peace prize to be awarded to the European Union.

If Valle had been present, she would certainly have vetoed the motion, French Nobel expert Jacob Antoine told Le Monde.fr on Friday.

Instead, Valle went on long-term sick leave at the last minute. She was replaced by Gunnar Staalsett, a former bishop of Oslo and a moderate member of the Center Party. As the most eurosceptic of the group, he was nonetheless a feeble match for the four remaining members, all of whom voted yes to joining the EU in a 1994 referendum, and whose leader, Thorbjoern Jagland, is Secretary-General of the 47-member Council of Europe.

While the cat’s away…

Friday’s decision raised questions in Norway over the political ethics of the Nobel committee, which is seen as largely unrepresentative of the general public, 53% of which voted no to joining the EU in a 1972 referendum and 52% of which refused again in 1994.

“The award of the prize will stir a massive controversy in Norway,” Kristian Berg Harpviken, head of the Oslo-based Peace Research Institute, told Reuters on Friday. “Many politicians here would see this as undue meddling in the internal affairs of Norway by the Nobel Committee.”

The choice also prompted calls for a review of how the committee that chooses the laureates is appointed. Norwegian Nobel Committee members, who have been deciding on the peace prize winner for well over a century, are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament through a representative vote.

But some parliamentarians deem the system biased.

“The Nobel Committee shows itself as being out of step with the Norwegian people,” said Akhtar Chaudhry, a vice-president of parliament and a member of the Socialist Party, which opposes EU membership for Norway. “The Norwegian people have rejected the EU as a concept, but yet we reward it with a Nobel Peace Prize,” he told Reuters.

Loaded with oil and gas, Norway has prospered alongside its European neighbours, with only 3% unemployment and some of the highest living standards on the continent.

Valle, whose voice would have been instrumental in this year’s choice of 231 candidates, has yet to comment on Friday’s announcement. Her husband, Yngve Seteraas, told Reuters that she had “nothing to do with the prize”. He also dismissed rumours that she had decided to quit the committee.

(FRANCE 24)

Date created : 2012-10-12

  • NOBEL PRIZE

    Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize for literature

    Read more

  • NOBEL PRIZE

    Two US scientists win Nobel Prize for chemistry

    Read more

COMMENT(S)