Ashton, Balkan officials nominated for Nobel Peace Prize


Just after Serbia's EU accession talks began on 21 January, Europe's Socialists and Democrats nominated Catherine Ashton, Serbian Prime Minister Ivaca Dačić and Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi for the Nobel Peace Prize. The latter two are likely to raise eyebrows, due to their reputations in the Balkan region, EurActiv Germany reports.

In a letter to the chair of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Thorbjørn Jagland, the group wrote: "The efforts to normalise relations between the two countries have been unprecedented and have created the opportunity of lasting peace and cooperation in the region."

The proposal comes four weeks after representatives from the US Congress submitted a similar letter, nominating the same three candidates to receive the prestigious award.

Representatives from the US Congressional Albanian Issues Caucus offered considerable praise for prime ministers Dačić and Thaçi, in their letter to the Nobel Committee last December. "In breaking sharply with the past and finding a path to a brighter future, the two Prime Ministers showed remarkable commitment, courage, and vision," they wrote.

But the nomination of the two Balkan leaders is likely to raise eyebrows. 

Prime Minister Thaçi, who is the former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), is regarded as a war criminal in Serbia.

According to a report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, a former Swiss prosecutor, Thaçi served as a mafia-like crime boss during the Kosovo War. Accusations against Kosovo's prime minister included leading a group that supposedly committed assassinations, beatings, harvesting of organs, drug-trafficking and other crimes.

Meanwhile, the nomination of Serbian prime minister Dačić is also expected to generate controversy.

Prime Minister Dačić served as an anti-Western spokesman for notorious Serbian and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević, who died in a prison cell in The Hague on trial for genocide and other war crimes.

Today, Dačić says Serbia's future is in the EU, but many in the Western world doubt the authenticity of his apparent change of heart.

'Last push for lasting peace'

The S&D's letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee is dated 24 January and signed by the Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, who is head of the group in the European Parliament.

In the letter, Swoboda writes that the nomination of Ashton, Dačić and Thaçi is not only meant "as a reward for the progress achieved already, but also as a motivation, possible as the last push that is needed for lasting peace".

"Relations between two key players, Kosovo and Serbia are fragile - but they exist", Swoboda writes. Nevertheless, the European Community was not able to prevent the Yugoslav War, a conflict which resulted in 140,000 victims, the Austrian politician continued.

"Lessons from other conflicts around the world have taught us that sometimes there is only a small window of opportunity to substantially advance peace," Swoboda writes, noting, "I believe that today we are witnessing this window of opportunity between Kosovo and Serbia."

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tony a's picture

Seriously Baroness Ashton. Quite simply what for as her failure in her role as the EU’s first High Representative for Foreign Affairs prompted serious disquiet in Europe’s corridors of power. Ashton has already been voted the least useful of the European Commissioners by her own peers in Brussels. Only a few months ago the entire EU was ridiculing Aston & her department for being a toothless colossal waste of 489m euros a year. She is the diplomat the whole world ignores because the real power still resides with national governments yet she is the second best paid female politician on earth despite never even winning an election.

George Mc's picture

The final embarrassment for the UK. You could not make this stuff up.

True European's picture

Ashton, who ? Kutcher ? i thought he was a male actor ?? This is ridiculous ! A nobel price for someone doing nothing but earning a whole lot of numbre I payed through my taxes !!!! Get away with the entire EU bureaucrats ! Will lead to prosperous nations.

Dr David Hill's picture

Ashton is not a good candidate to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

But some are saying that Bill Gates should be awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize also. I definitely say, no way I am afraid for a man who increased his personal wealth last year by nearly $7 billion, gives no more than 3% of his wealth away every year and invests the remaining 97% to make him at least 15% profit annually without paying tax through his foundation. If he was truly a humanitarian he would give at least 15% away and then he would still keep the status quo. These Foundations have vested-interest as businesses, not charities and where their primary concern is not humanity when you delve into how they operate. But there again, money talks as they say and the Nobel Peace Prize over the years has lost a great deal of its image. You only have to look Al Gore in this respect for one who made a video about climate change, gave a few speeches that he was paid for and got the prize. The same year Irena Sendler who in WW2 saved 2,500 children risking her life every day against the Nazis tyranny, was gruesomely tortured by them and nearly shot by a Nazi firing squad was nominated, but Gore got it. Can someone tell me which one was better to have received the Peace Prize? I for one say Sendler and where I say that the Nobel Committee have lost their way in modern times and are now mainly concerned it appears with pleasing politicians and the wealthy, not those who have literally saved the lives of thousands of young people from certain death in the Nazi death camps. Alfred Nobel would turn in his grave and no Gates has not done anything better in his life than thwarted nominees such as Irena Sendler. No, Gates should not get the prize and someone like another 2014 nominee Sir Nicholas Winton, who also saved thousands of Czech children also from the Nazi death camps, is a far more worthy person, even more so than Snowden !

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation

Charles_M's picture

I think Homer Simpson should be nominated; I mean, think how many deaths and injuries have been averted because psychopaths and criminals have stayed in to watch him on TV? Did you ever stay in to watch Ashton?