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EU's Nobel Peace Prize: Three Things to Know

Speaker: Charles A. Kupchan, Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
October 12, 2012

The Nobel committee awarded its 2012 peace prize to the European Union at a time when its very existence has been called into question in the wake of the continent's roiling debt crisis. CFR's Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow Charles A. Kupchan highlights three things to consider about the EU and the ongoing project of European integration:

  • A Peacemaking Accomplishment – "There is no question that the European Union represents one of the great geopolitical peacemaking accomplishments of the modern era," Kupchan says. Acknowledging the EU's current challenges, Kupchan says "the timing is a bit awkward" but says perhaps "the Nobel Committee may have been thinking Europe needs a shot in the arm right now precisely because of its fragility, the tensions of the eurozone crisis."
  • EU Faces Grave Challenges – "These experiments in geopolitical engineering are not irreversible," Kupchan cautions. The future stability and integration of the EU remains uncertain as it experiences "perhaps the gravest crisis in the post World War II era," he says.
  • A Deeper Fiscal and Political Union Ahead – With the European Central Bank and Germany taking steps to stabilize the debt crisis, Kupchan anticipates that "the worst is behind the European Union." "Not only will Europe survive this crisis, it will emerge stronger with a banking union, a deeper fiscal union, a deeper political union," he says. "And if so, then I think the award today will withstand the test of time and Europe will consolidate itself as a zone of peace and prosperity."

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