Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that ‘the union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.’ Writing in the LRB five years ago, Perry Anderson observed:
The integration of the East into the Union is the major achievement to which admirers of the new Europe can legitimately point. Of course, as with the standard encomia of the record of EU as a whole, there is a gap between ideology and reality in the claims made for it. The Community that became a Union was never responsible for the ‘fifty years of peace’ conventionally ascribed to it, a piety attributing to Brussels what in any strict sense belonged to Washington. When actual wars threatened in Yugoslavia, far from preventing their outbreak, the Union if anything helped to trigger them.