Viewpoint: Europe must lead global peace drive - Barroso

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'Be vigiliant' of Europe's old demons warns EU chief Barroso

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has told the BBC that the Nobel Peace Prize gives the EU authority to lead peace efforts worldwide. Here is his viewpoint on the award, which he and other EU leaders are receiving in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Monday.

Being in Oslo to jointly receive this award on behalf of the European Union is an honour and a humbling experience.

This is an award for the European project - for the people and the institutions - that day after day, for the last 60 years, have built a new Europe.

It is a good moment to remind ourselves of what the European Union has done:

  • It brings lasting peace between former enemies who fought many devastating wars on the continent including two world wars;
  • It brings lasting freedom, justice and democracy for 500 million people, including for so many that lived under dictatorship and totalitarian regimes;
  • And it does so in a unique manner: by creating a political system that brings us together across national borders in a supranational community, through the sharing of sovereignty.

I know that some have asked why, why now?

Well, Thorbjoern Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, summed it up perfectly on the day of the announcement (and again just now - and I wish to thank him warmly for his words). "This is the right moment to give a clear message to Europe to preserve what we have achieved… This is a prize to have a better organised world, to have stability and peace."

We will honour this prize and we will preserve what has been achieved. It is in the common interest of our citizens. And it will allow Europe to contribute in shaping that "better organised world" in line with the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law that we cherish and believe in.

The last 60 years have shown that Europe can unite in peace. Over the next 60 years, Europe must lead the global quest for peace.

Mr Barroso spoke to the BBC Hardtalk programme in Oslo. You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Monday 10 December at 0430, 0930, 1530 and 2130 GMT, on the BBC News channel on Monday 10 December at 0430 GMT and Tuesday 11 December at 0030 GMT. You can also watch the interview on the BBC iplayer and you can download a podcast. .

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