Roy Ginsberg didn’t see it coming. In hindsight, though, awarding the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union makes sense to him.
The professor of international politics at Skidmore College has penned numerous books on the 27-nation European bloc and called the Friday announcement a needed reminder in perilous economic times.
“It was a surprise, but I think the Norwegians wanted to remind the world that what happened in Europe after World War II was very significant,” said Ginsberg. “It was quite an accomplishment to build a European Union, a union of peace among formerly warring countries from the ashes of the Second World War.”
The award, he said, is a signal to the rest of the world that if the EU could foster peace after that crisis, it can certainly weather the current Eurozone crisis.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award Friday, surprising some who believed the EU has not handled the crisis well. Ginsberg, however, doesn’t consider the Eurozone crisis as of the same proportions as what the union faced at its inception in the 1950s.
“The European Union is 60 years old,” he said. “And it has faced crises before. This award is perspective, and when you think about it, very well timed. If you’re quick to criticize the EU, you might not think the prize is deserved. But we need the EU to overcome the Eurozone crisis.”
Ginsberg first delved into the history and impact of the European Union back in college, when he became enamored with the idea that such ancient conflict among states could be set aside for a common goal. Today, he is recognized internationally as an expert on the European body.
“The European Union is the world’s leading example of reconciliation among ancient warring states,” he said. “It’s the world’s leading example of structural peace and reconciliation, and that’s an inspiration.”
Ginsberg hosts an annual State of the European Union, which will be held Nov. 1-2 at Skidmore. Topics will cover European and American perspectives, Greece, Germany and the United States.