Jewish group: Nobel Peace Prize winner EU has made Europe 'haven of peace'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2012

The decision to award the prestigious Nobel peace Prize to the European Union has been greeted with shock and raised eyebrows in some corners, but the president of the World Jewish Congress said it should be warmly welcomed.

Noting that the Nobel Committee had historically made controversial choices – two members resigned after it was won by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho in 1973 – Ronald Lauder said the EU's role in rebuilding Europe after the Cold War should be acknowledged.

"European integration has been the main reason why the European continent has become a haven of peace, freedom and prosperity nobody would have dreamt of 60 years ago," he said. "Jews and members other minority communities have been among the main beneficiaries closer European integration, and although antisemitism and racism continue to worry us, the European Union is - and will be in the future - our main ally in overcoming these scourges."

He added that winning the coveted prize should encourage EU officials to "take a more proactive and energetic stance on the important issues the world faces today, including the Iranian threat, the rise of Islamism and the worrying developments in the Middle East".

Last updated: 2:12pm, October 12 2012