World 12 October 2012 Why the European Union does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize Others deserve credit for "60 years of peace" in Europe Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML So the 2012 Nobel peace prize does not go to any worthy individual or tireless campaigning organisation. It instead goes to the European Union. This is a misconceived decision. The European Union is rather good at taking the benefit of the work of others and at promoting its own mythology. But strictly speaking, the European Union has existed only since 1993. Its (main) predecessor organization, the European Economic Community (established by treaty in 1957, some twelve years after the Second World War) was primarily a trading organization for some (but not all) of the countries on the western side of the Cold War. An important entity without any doubt, but certainly not the sole or even leading source of human rights and peace in Europe after 1945. The entrenchment of human rights in wider Europe of course owes far more to the European Convention of Human Rights than the EU. And the post-1945 attainment of peace is better attributed to NATO (which was underpinned by US guarantees) and the Marshall plan. Indeed, to say anything about peace in Europe for sixty years ignores the conflicts which have occurred: not least the savage wars which affected the former Yugoslavia for ten years after 1990. “Europe” is not the same as the “European Union”, however many people seem to forget this. This is not say that the European Union is a bad thing. The United Kingdom is economically better off in than out, and whole areas of UK public policy (for example, competition and procurement law) have been greatly improved by EU influence and control. But the EU should not be taken for something other than it is: a trading organisation with heady aspirations and ambitious institutions. Sixty years of peace and human rights in a good part of Europe is indeed an achievement to be celebrated. But it not right for the European Union to be given all the credit. It was always little more complicated than that. › Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the EU A euro on a map of Europe. Photo: Getty David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman and author of the Jack of Kent blog. His legal journalism has included popularising the Simon Singh libel case and discrediting the Julian Assange myths about his extradition case. His uncovering of the Nightjack email hack by the Times was described as "masterly analysis" by Lord Justice Leveson. David is also a solicitor and was successful in the "Twitterjoketrial" appeal at the High Court. (Nothing on this blog constitutes legal advice.) Subscribe More Related articles For the Ukip press officer I slept with, the European Union was Daddy Meet Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far left candidate gaining momentum in the French election What can a new book of Holocaust testimony tell us about the Third Reich?