Does the EU still deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

The EU received 2012 the Nobel Peace Price for its peacemaking function in Europe. As of 1950, the EU brought stability as an economic union and put forward democracy and human rights in the region. Over the years, the organisation became a more and more political union with strong ties between its Member States. The value system of the EU is defined by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty and the key principles encompass human dignity, freedom, democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and respect for minority rights.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that in 2018 1.405 migrants died in their attempt to access Europe over the Mediterranean Sea. In total, 45.808 arrivals over the Mediterranean Sea were recorded this year to July; however there is a significant decrease of people arriving. Last year, 115.796 people arrived until July. Living conditions in refugee camps are poor and undermining the wellbeing of refugees. Dignity, health, security and education as basic human rights are at stake in the middle of Europe.

The topic of migration is highly polarised and often picked up by populist and nationalist leaders to stimulate fears in society. Thus, hate crimes against refugees and migrants and ethnic minorities are widespread throughout Europe as well as mostly undetected hate speech in the internet. What we see today is a political crisis where the European countries fail to act in solidarity. It is a fundamental decision if we decide to see migration as a threat or a potential.

The EU through the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex shields its external borders from migrants and refugees and delegates their responsibility to Non-EU countries such as Libya. How? The EU supports the Libyan government financially and through capacity-building measures in intercepting refugees from fleeing the country by boat and sending them to detention in Libya. German diplomats raised concerns in a lately published report by the German Federal Foreign Office on the blog fragdenstaat: the conditions in the Libyan reception centre are “concentration-camp like”, encompassing “executions of insolvent migrants, torture, rape, extortion and suspensions in the desert”. The public has now access to the report of 2017 due to a request on the basis of the German Access of Information Act. Médecins Sans Frontières blamed the European countries in an open letter saying that the conditions of detention centres in Libya are the incarnation of evil. In Libya, the EU supports a regime and is a complicit of human rights abuses.

The EU fails to provide legal ways to enter Europe. Asylum seekers have to take an illegal and unsafe journey over sea or land to access Europe. However, NGOs conducting rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea face restrictions by state authorities. The Balkan route has been closed.  The EU accepts camps with poor living conditions in Greece, France and Hungary. Life-saving activists are persecuted for “human trafficking” in many European countries. The EU and Turkey agreed on a Joint Action Plan sending back asylum seekers arriving at Greece to Turkey to reduce the number of arrivals, however the rule of law is not guaranteed in Turkey and asylum seekers may even be send back to their country of origin.

The EU does not live up to its initial values due to its inhumane refugee policy. The same case applies to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar who remains inactive instead of saving the Rohingya people from genocide.

To sum up, the answer if the EU still deserves the Nobel Peace Prize is a determined no.



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