The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union (EU) as an acknowledgment of the organisation’s six decades of advancing peace in Europe.
The Nobel committee stated that the EU had helped turn Europe “from a continent of war to a continent of peace.”
The award comes at a critical stage of the EU’s 60-year history, with mass unemployment, recession, and social unrest affecting a significant number of its 27 EU member states.
Although the EU’s current troubles were mentioned by Nobel committee president Thorbjoern Jagland in his prizegiving speech, he said the committee wanted to focus on the body’s work over six decades of “advancing peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights.”
As examples of the EU’s success, Jagland pointed to the reconciliation between France and Germany in the decades following World War II,and the incorporation of Spain, Portugal, and Greece after each country saw authoritarian regimes fall in the 1970s.
Balkan countries were now feeling the benefit of the EU’s reconciliation work, added Jagland, pointing out that Croatia was close to securing membership.
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso took to his Twitter feed to celebrate the happy news, telling followers:
— Jose Manuel Barroso (@BarrosoEU) October 12, 2012
This isn’t the first time the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a whole organisation: In 1999, the prize went to Medecins Sans Frontieres. Recent individuals who have won the prize have included President Barack Obama in 2009 and detained Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010, a choice that infuriated China.
Do you feel the European Union is a deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize? Let us know in the comments!