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Geopolitics and Expertise: Knowledge and Authority in European Diplomacy by Merje Kuus

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Conclusion

Circles of Knowledge

When the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, reports on the delighted reactions of the union’s top officials sat alongside comments deriding the bureaucratic inefficiency of its institutions. Especially at the time of crisis, when the EU’s very existence seemed to be in question, the union’s slow decision-making provided much material for irony. For starters, the government leaders gathered for the European Council meeting shortly after the news spent an “inordinate” amount of time discussing who should accept the prize. There was much deliberation on how to involve children. “Barely a month later,” The European Voice newspaper reports with glee, it emerged that the EU was to be represented not by one person but three: President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. Only the first two spoke, delivering a joint speech. Van Rompuy had suggested that the leaders of all member states attend the ceremony, but several of them did not heed that suggestion. The award money, the commission announced, would go to “children that are most in need”. The wording was later revised to “children in war zones”, but the revised wording likewise did not specify which wars the commission had in mind. Identifying the select zones would be the EU’s next bureaucratic challenge, The European Voice remarks on its humour page.1

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