EU Prize Delights Some, Dismays Others

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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Reaction to the unexpected choice of the European Union for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize ranges from joy among EU officials to skepticism among some citizens in Europe's economically strapped nations.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said she is “delighted” at the award.

The EU ambassador to the United States, Joao Vale de Almeida, said the EU is grateful for the “indispensable support” from the United States and vowed the bloc will continue to work closely with the U.S. to promote peace, democracy and prosperity around the world.

The governments of several European nations have issued statements welcoming the award.

But some average European citizens, struggling in a poor economy, have expressed surprise and dismay at the selection, saying giving the peace prize to the EU during the eurozone crisis seems like a bad joke.

European Parliament member and leader of Britain's Independence Party Nigel Farage said the 27-nation bloc was creating poverty, violence and division in eurozone nations like Spain and Greece.

In Russia, the state Duma expressed surprise at the decision, saying the prize should not be awarded to government structures but to individuals or public organizations for their courage or pioneering efforts. Russian lawmakers criticized the decision but called it a gesture of political support at one of the most difficult periods in the EU's development.