Mon, Dec 10, 2012 - Page 8 News List

EU’s Nobel prize is ‘a wake-up call’

By Frederic Laplanche

Europeans must be conscious of their responsibility, and of the necessity for decision makers to come to terms collectively with the current crisis and quickly deliver new prospects of economic development, growth and jobs for the younger generation.

Solutions are now in sight, through a very thorough reform of the EU’s economic structures. Part of the way out of the EU’s crisis will also mean developing even stronger economic relations with the rest of the world — including Taiwan — on the basis of win-win exchanges in trade and investment.

It will take time, but sufficient political has been gathered for the EU to overcome the crisis.

The Nobel Peace Prize may also be an opportunity for the EU to offer its historic experience to regions of the world still torn by conflict. The EU wants to be a more active and direct player in world peace, democracy and development.

More than 50 percent of the world’s total overseas development assistance comes from the EU and its member states, who will continue to strive for a better, fairer sharing of global resources and growth.

The EU will continue to build up its foreign and security policy tools, including through means that are not typical of the “soft power” for which it is famous.

Military operations, where necessary, will continue to be used — many people do not know that since 2003 the EU has deployed more than 80,000 civilian and military personnel in 27 operations to re-establish or secure peace in troubled regions.

The economic crisis in Europe has certainly been a humbling moment, but it has helped the EU to rethink its policies and get its act together.

This Nobel Peace Prize is a comforting recognition, but it is also an encouragement for Europeans to continue efforts toward establishing sustainable peace on the continent and contribute as much as possible to establishing peace in the rest of the world.

Frederic Laplanche is the head of the European Economic and Trade Office in Taiwan.

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