The Nobel Committee’s selection of the European Union as the Peace Prize honoree went from joke to scandal today, as Norway’s Aftenposten reports (via EU Referendum and Andrew Stuttaford) that when Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland . . .
. . . decided to call for the final vote on this year’s winner, (Ågot) Valle was off sick, replaced by former Oslo Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, as her deputy.
It just so happens that Ms. Valle was the lone member of the Committee who was a member of an avowedly euroskeptic party. The rest hail from outwardly europhilic parties (Labour and Conservative) and a neutral party (Progress). Ms. Valle herself said she would not only have attended the vote if asked, but that she further would have spoken against awarding the EU the prize. However, “she wasn’t asked to attend” (EU Referendum).
Needless to say, members of Ms. Valle’s party – the Socialist Left Party (of which Mr. Stålsett is not a member) - were furious. Snorre Valen “said that Ms. Valle would never have stood for an award to the European Union” (New York Times). Ms. Valle herself flatly stated, “I have not had anything to do with this prize award, and I take no responsibility for the E.U. receiving it.” Audun Lysbakken dubbed it “a politicised peace prize” (EU Referendum). Geir Langeland called it “foul and unethical.”
This is serious business for the Socialist Left: their coalition agreement with the europhilic Labourites includes a “suicide” clause that automatically brings down the government if Labour even talks about joining the EU (Norway has rejected membership by referendum twice). Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg (Labour) warmly congratulated the EU on the prize. . . and just as quickly insisted he has no intention of dragging Norway into the EU (Hindustan Times).
Just about every one in Norway has egg on their faces for this one . . . except the Socialist Left. Once again, Europe is so messed up that the Socialists are the good guys, leading Ora Nicole to wonder… “What’s next? Virgins giving out sex advice?”
It’s getting that weird over there.
Cross-posted to Bearing Drift