Nobel Peace Prize

It seems a bit strange for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to an institution, rather than a person, but there is no doubt in my mind that the European Union deserves to be praised for its contribution to peace and freedom.

It’s not a question of having kept the Soviet Union at bay during the Cold War, or even of having promoted peace in Africa and the Middle East – although the EU has done its fair share of the latter. Its real contribution has been to healing the internal wounds of the European continent, where the 20th century saw the bloodiest wars the world has ever seen. Read more

Gideon Rachman

Thorbjørn Jagland announces the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Peace prize (Getty)

Some may find the decision to award the European Union the Nobel Peace Prize a trifle odd. But, in Brussels, it is conventional wisdom that the EU’s biggest achievement is peace in Europe. The argument goes that, before the EU got going we had centuries of war. Since then, we have had decades of peace.

However, there is clearly a potential logical fallacy here — which is known as “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”…”After this, therefore because of this.” In other words, just because the establishment of the EU coincided with the establishment of peace in western Europe, it doesn’t mean one thing caused the other. Read more