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Editorial: An absence more eloquent than words

We shared the general amazement when the European Union was named the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, but our amazement was far outweighed by gratification that the historic success of the EU had been recognised at a time when news from the region seemed mostly bad. Both emotions were compounded yesterday, when the heads of the EU's institutions received the award in Oslo.

But we also felt that familiar sense of frustration about the way successive British governments seem determined to stay aloof. While most national leaders attended the ceremony in Oslo – and President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel drew applause for holding hands to symbolise their countries' reconciliation – the Prime Minister sent his deputy instead. In so brazenly playing to the home gallery, David Cameron only perpetuated the UK's image as peevish and semi-detached. Here was a chance for Britain to join the celebrations on a good day for Europe. What a shame the Prime Minister passed it up.