What is the longest uninterrupted sleep you have had

As spectacular as it is obvious

Nobel Prize Committee stimulates a new narrative of the history of European unification

By Peter Lange, editor-in-chief of Deutschlandradio Kultur

The years of peace in the EU states since 1945 are the longest uninterrupted period of peace on the continent. (AP)

The fact that the peoples of Europe have lived together peacefully for decades is thanks to the European Union and the politicians who have organized this with all the efforts of the level. The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU is a reminder that this cannot be taken for granted.

One of the newer, yet well-worn platitudes about the European Union goes something like this: The EU needs a new narrative. The European community of states as a peacemaking project is no longer anything that can trigger commitment and empathy for Europe among the young generation.

The latter may be true. But can that be a reason not to tell the success story of European unification and to dump it in the museum store for lack of interest among the younger audience?

No, the Nobel Committee may have thought, and with its decision, which is as obvious as it is spectacular, it is stimulating a new narrative of the history of European unification. It is obvious, almost boring, because we live and claim European peace as naturally as we do with clean drinking water from the tap and smooth garbage disposal. It is spectacular because it reminds you that none of this can be taken for granted.

For 2000 years Europe was a continent of wars - with a hell of a lot of modern, industrially organized human and peoples annihilation in the 20th century. The 67 years of peace in the states of the European Union since 1945 are - historically speaking - little more than the blink of an eye, and yet the longest uninterrupted period of peace on the old continent. What kind of an achievement this is, and what it's worth, can be guessed at if you contrast a region like the Middle East, where the end of a war lasting over 60 years with hot and cold phases is still not in sight.

And it is still a miracle that the upheaval of 1989, with the exception of Romania, was peaceful almost everywhere. Perhaps even more today than a few years ago, when we are all watching the terrible bloodshed with which the people of North Africa and Arabia have to pay for their struggle for freedom. In 1989 it could have been terrible for us too.

The fact that the peoples of Europe have lived together peacefully for decades is thanks to the European Union and the politicians who have organized this with all the efforts of the level. The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU is a reminder that this cannot be taken for granted. He also warns to keep this in mind as a task in the future. An EU whose southern countries have been marked for years by economic depression, mass unemployment and poverty, by political instability and internal unrest, such an EU would be an unpeaceful Union that would burden Europe as a whole heavily. If the former community of fate showed itself to be a community of solidarity, it would definitely be cheaper.