Nobel Peace Prize awarded to EU
Enlarge image European Union is awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize (© picture-alliance/ dpa) The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 has been awarded to the European Union (EU) for "contributing to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe for over six decades", Thorbjörn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Firday.
The Nobel Committee stated: "The dreadful suffering in World War II demonstrated the need for a new Europe. Over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners.
Enlarge image Thorbjörn Jagland, Chairman of the Nobel Committe announces the Nobel Peace Prize Awardee 2012 in Oslo (© picture-alliance/ dpa) The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will."
The Federal Government welcomed the decision: "We see this as an affirmation and encouragement for the great peace project that the EU brought to the whole continent, which did not see long phases of peace very often", government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin. He congratulated the EU, its institutions and employees on behalf of Chancellor Merkel, and went on to say: "This is a joy for all of us living in the 27 member states".
Enlarge image Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle (© German Embassy London) Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle, who is visiting China at present, said: "This great decision makes me proud and happy". He went on to praise European integration and called it the most successful peace project of all time. "From the ruins of two horrible world wars peace and freedom have grown, and hereditary enemies have become good friends and inseperable partners", Westerwelle said.
Both Merkel and Westerwelle stated that the Peace Prize was "an incentive to solve the problems" and "to set an example with this European model of cooperation".
The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded during an official ceremony on 10 December.