EU Nobel Peace Prize unlawful - group

Oslo - Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is "unlawful" since the bloc is not a "champion of peace" as defined by the will of founder Alfred Nobel, the International Peace Bureau claimed on Monday.

In an open letter to Sweden's Nobel Foundation, the peace network called for this year's 8 million kronor-prize (R10.6m) to be withheld, a demand that was immediately rejected by the Norwegian committee tasked with picking the recipient.

"The European Union ... clearly is not one of 'the champions of peace' Alfred Nobel had in mind and described in his will," the peace federation wrote.

The Swedish industrialist and philanthropist, who died in 1896, said in his will that the award should go to the "person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

Condoning force

The International Peace Bureau pointed out that the EU "is not seeking to realise a demilitarisation of international relations", and that its members "condone security based on military force and have waged wars rather than insisting on the need for alternative approaches".

The Geneva-based peace network, which has more than 300 member organisations and was itself the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910, accused the committee of having "redefined" the prize, which now also recognises environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners.

In Oslo, the influential secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee brushed off the criticisms.

"These viewpoints have been presented several times, they are well known and won't impact the evolution of the prize," Geir Lundestad said.

The award "will indeed be handed out" at the 10 December ceremony in the Norwegian capital, he added.

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