Nobel Happiness Prize

Congratulations to the European Union for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s well-deserved. To explain why I quote the following:

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

No religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace…


Those, of course, were the words of the late John Lennon, who was assassinated in 1980.

All of the whingeing about the EU is symptomatic of why so many people aren’t happy. The reason is this. They focus on the negative and close their minds to the positive. And the thing they focus on the most is money. But even on that they’re wrong. In the years I’ve been living in Spain I’ve seen with my own eyes the tremendous rise in living standards due to EU membership. Spain joined in 1986 when per capita GDP (a good measure of living standards) was less than 8,000 euros at 2005 prices. By 2005 it was over 23,000 euros. In other words, there was almost a threefold increase. Incomes may have fallen back recently but most people are still far better off than they would have been without the EU.

Personally, I love the EU. I don’t regard it as being ‘ruled by Brussels’ because every EU country is a member of ‘Brussels’. But, to me, the EU isn’t so much to do with either politics or economics. To me, the EU means the freedom to set up home and work almost anywhere in Europe that I choose, to be myself in the environment that suits me. And what a wonderful ‘country’ the EU is, stretching from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, and from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. Who wouldn’t want to live in a country that includes the Alps and the Pyrenees and some of the world’s greatest cities? To me, the EU is freedom. And freedom is happiness.

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