Politicians split over award of Nobel Peace Prize to the EU
Local politicians are divided over the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union.
East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has attacked the Norwegian prize committee for the move, announced yesterday.
The UK Independence Party politician, who represents Leicestershire in Brussels, said the choice brought the award "into disrepute".
Explaining its decision, the committee said the award was given to the EU for "six decades of contributions" to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights on the continent.
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Mr Helmer said: "This ridiculous decision brings the whole Nobel Peace Prize system into disrepute.
"The prize committee say the EU is responsible for six decades of peace. This perpetuates that myth, when it's Nato and 100,000 US troops that have been responsible for maintaining the peace.
"You only have to look at the unrest in Greece and Spain to see the division the Euro project has caused. It's shocking."
But Labour deputy city mayor Rory Palmer believes the EU is a worthy recipient of the prize.
He said: "A lot of people are going over the top in their negative reaction to this award.
"The EU has brought countries together and its democratic institutions have been a massive force for good.
"For example, we have the European Court of Human Rights, which enshrines the rights of citizens.
"The EU has also played a big part in dealing with conflicts around the world, for example in Bosnia in the 1990s. Therefore, I feel it is entirely appropriate the EU has received this recognition."
Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, said: "I would have liked to see the prize go to Nato, which I think is responsible for keeping six decades of peace in Europe.
"I'm particularly surprised at the timing of the award, given the civil unrest in Greece and Spain over the Euro crisis.
"But having said that, the role played by the EU in fostering free trade and much greater cooperation between different countries cannot be denied."
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman van Rompuy jointly declared the award a "tremendous honour".