Nobel Peace Prize awarded to European Union


Jose Manuel Barroso: "The European Union is probably the most important ever project for peace"

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The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for six decades of work in advancing peace in Europe.

The committee said the EU had helped to transform Europe "from a continent of war to a continent of peace".

The award comes as the EU faces the biggest crisis of its history, with recession and social unrest rocking many of its member states.

The last organisation to be given the prize outright was Medecins Sans Frontieres, which won in 1999.

Announcing the award, Nobel committee president Thorbjoern Jagland acknowledged the EU's current financial problems and social unrest.

But he said the committee wanted to concentrate on the EU's work over six decades of advancing "peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights".

'Biggest peacemaker'

Start Quote

We must never forget that in order to keep this peace, democracy and freedom, we have to work hard over and over again”

End Quote Angela Merkel

Mr Jagland highlighted the EU's work in sealing the reconciliation between France and Germany in the decades after World War II and praised the organisation for incorporating Spain, Portugal and Greece after their authoritarian regimes collapsed in the 1970s.

The EU's reconciliation work had now moved to Balkan countries, he said, pointing out that Croatia is on the verge of membership.

And he added that the possibility of EU membership for Turkey had also "advanced democracy and human rights in that country".

Senior EU figures were overjoyed with the award.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called it a "great honour", while European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said it was recognition for the work of "the biggest peacemaker in history".

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Barroso said that in awarding the prize to the EU, the Nobel Committee was saying that the European project should be cherished, both within and beyond Europe.

"I believe it is justified for the European Union to see its work for peace recognised, not only in the unification of the continent, but also outside our Europe," he said.

"This started after the war - putting together former enemies. It started with six countries and we are now 27, another one is going to join us next year and more want to come. So the EU is the most important project for peace in terms of transnational, supernational co-operation."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she regarded the Nobel as a "personal incentive" to build on six decades of peace in Europe.

Start Quote

Europe's leaders fell upon this rare piece of good news with an almost desperate embrace. If there is a core justification for the European project, it is to make war impossible again on the continent. That has been the EU's outstanding achievement”

End Quote

"We must never forget that in order to keep this peace, democracy and freedom, we have to work hard over and over again," she said.

French President Francois Hollande said the EU needed to show it was "worthy" of the award. "We are honoured, we are proud and at the same time we have our responsibilities before us," he told journalists during a visit to Senegal.

The BBC's Europe correspondent Matthew Price says the EU's achievements are clear, but the committee has picked a strange time to highlight them.

The eurozone crisis has made the EU look more divided and fragile than it has for decades, he says.

EU 'like Yugoslavia'

Alongside the chorus of praise, several eurosceptic politicians were quick to deride the award.

Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) likened the EU project to the former Yugoslavia.

"Rather than bring peace and harmony, the EU will cause insurgency and violence," he said.

Dutch eurosceptic Geert Wilders questioned the timing of the award.

Thorbjoern Jagland, Norwegian Nobel Committee: "Since 1945 reconciliation has become a reality"

"A Nobel prize for the EU at a time Brussels and all of Europe is collapsing in misery. What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy," he said.

The Nobel committee has rarely shied away from controversy with its choice of winner.

US President Barack Obama won the award in 2009 despite leading a country that was fighting two separate wars.

And the choice of detained Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 enraged China, which made an official complaint to Norway.

This year's Nobel Prize for literature winner, Chinese writer Mo Yan, said on Friday he hoped Mr Liu would be freed as soon as possible.

Maps showing growth of the European Union The Inner Six create the European Coal and Steel Community, meant to tie the countries together and make war between them "materially impossible"
Maps showing growth of the European Union The European Community, as it is by now known, has the goal of a common market in goods, capital and labour; the UK joins, but Norway votes not to
Maps showing growth of the European Union Greece, Spain and Portugal, after only emerging from dictatorship in the previous decade, are admitted to the club
Maps showing growth of the European Union The 1991 Maastricht Treaty sets the bloc en route to the single currency and renames it the European Union
Maps showing growth of the European Union The biggest expansion of the bloc sees 12 new entrants, including many former communist countries

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  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    I think I'm going to throw up.
    Such ghastly political correctness and craven toadying to the Eu........oh no oooo

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.


    Should have gone to NATO? Are you mad...???

    For all that have done peace wise, what about Iraq? A joint NATO invasion of a country under utterly false pretext (there were, & NATO knew there were, no WMDs).....

    ...causing more misery & suffering that was going on under the dictator.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    This still infuriates me. What about Bill Gates, he has been financial responsible for removing three deadly diseases from India. Has saved countless lives because of that.... The amount of money he donates to life saving charities on a annual basis is staggering. But alas, I suppose the EU is a much better alternative, two countries in an economic crisis, but were still at peace.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    A bad taste is left in the mouth hearing this, what murky deal has been done for this? At a time when the EU is looking like a pointless worthless and expensive organisation, this pointless award is given.... The Eu reps are not accountable for their expenses, nor will the voluntarily publish them....corrupt, untrustworthy, and just useless!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    The EU is a means for Germany & France to enforce their political will onto other member states. It creams cash from member states and wastes it on bureauracy. Even now as member states are cutting back the EU gravy train wants to award massive, above inflation wage increases. The sooner the UK pulls out of the EU the better off this country will be to look after its own!

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Great news. Let's hope the peace lasts and spreads to encompasssing the world.
    Let's also hope that countries who rely on making and exporting military weapons and equipments will redirect their engineering skills towards non aggressive technology.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    If the EU was praised for helping reconciliation, most recently in the Balkans why weren't they given this prize earlier?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Will the cash prize be used to pay off 0.000000001% of its debt ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    I think it is a great achievement as EU has been since 50s struggling and not giving up, although I reserve the comment, there are no jobs what is the Prize worth? I would have thought that the employment cerated would have been a better value any time as this is cash the certificate is not eatable I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    How can it be awarded for the Nobel Prize for six decades of peace keeping when it has only existed since 1994???

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the EU? Yes, the streets of Athens are so peaceful, the German and Greek press so free of mutual loathing and jingoism, the Euro so stable, the EU so democratic, the Italian Cabinet so full of elected politicians, the integrity of the Spanish state so stable after the collapse of its German-financed Wirtschaftswunder.

    Go have another vote, Nobel committee!

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    So provoking nationalism all over the continent, some of it Fascist, is an example of peacemaking?

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    It's all getting a bit abstract - maybe Buddha should be in the mix next time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Really quite sad to read the ignorance, xenophobia and downright stupidity of those who can never find anything good to say about Europe. This award is totally justified, and I suggest those that can find nothing good in it go and read some history books.

    Just pathetic, saddening and ignorant in the extreme. I guess the ending of 1000+ years of warfare really doesn't deserve a 'peace prize'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Playing by the rules this should have been announced on April 1st but then like most fundementally undemocratic institutions the EU never plays by the rules, it does what it wants at the expense of others.

    And I wonder if the fraud ridden EU Accounts will ever be signed off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    And the winner of the Nobel Stupid Prize is ...
    The Nobel Peace Prize Committee!
    The dumbest peace prize since Barack Obama for managing to get elected. Another hamfisted attempt to exert political influence that will just end up hamstringing the political process.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Obviously stuck for ideas of who to give it ti.

    So they perpetuate an utter lie that the EU has anything to do with peace in Europe. If they wanted to make such an award it should have gone to NATO.

    The EU will be the cause of conflict and war by its Empire intents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    @ 19 captainarmchairhero

    It is the very idea of a 'one-world federal state' which fills many of us with a complete sense of dread.

    The EU may be a force for unity, but what unity and at whose cost?

    In its short history, and increasingly over recent years, its monetary policies have bailed out the banks, saved the rich elite and imposed austerity.

    The idea of one world government is pure evil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.


    "As someone else said NATO would be more deserving at least its not corrupt and self serving"


    +1 for one of the best laughs i've had in years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    The Greek reactions towards Merkels visit this week clearly demonstrates the fruits of EU's advancement of peace. Well done chaps!


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