Parliament plans to hold on to the Nobel medal
The spoils were unevenly distributed at the ceremony in Oslo on Monday to present the European Union with the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012.
While the speechmakers, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, took charge of the certificate, the silent one, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, came away with the medal.
And it looks as if the Parliament will be holding on to that medal. The plan is for it to be displayed in the Parlamentarium, the Parliament’s very own museum and tourist attraction, until 2015, when it will be moved to the House of European History, which is to be the Parliament’s second museum and tourist attraction.
Somehow the House of European History has so far escaped the financial cuts that were supposedly a feature of recent budget negotiations (it has been allocated another €6.4 million in the 2013 budget). The Committee of the Regions (CoR) did try to put the museum in the firing line by publicising a speech from Hans-Gert Pöttering, a German MEP and former president of the Parliament who is closely associated with the vanity project, which he made barely a week after the European Council had failed to agree on the EU’s budget for 2014-20. Pöttering told the CoR: “I initiated this project with the ambition to create a locus for history and for the future where the concept of the European idea can continue to grow.”
Michael Schneider, president of the centre-right group in the CoR, responded that because the museum’s designated location, the Eastman building, is close to the CoR’s headquarters, “citizens visiting the museum would realise that their cities and regions are part of Europe and its future”.
And as if those were not convincing enough justifications for the expense, now there is a Nobel medal to house…A bargain.
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