The award served that the bloc had largely brought peace to a continent which tore itself apart in two world wars in which tens of millions died.The EU has transformed most of Europe "from a continent of wars to a continent of peace," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in announcing the award in Oslo.
"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," he said.
He praised the EU for rebuilding Europe after World War Two and for its role in spreading stability after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.But the debt crisis afflicting the single currency zone has brought economic instability to several member states, and rioting has erupted on the streets of Athens and Madrid as austerity measures have bitten hard.The Nobel Committee, in giving the award to the EU, has likely bypassed more worthy candidates, including Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio, a frequent critic of the Kremlin. As has been the case with the Peace Prize over the years, this year's winner is symbolic if not political, and speaks more about a desire than a reality—in this case preserving the importance of the EU, of which Norway is not a member state.
The same Reuters article notes: "Norway, the home of the peace prize, has voted 'no' twice to joining the EU, in 1972 and 1994. The country has prospered outside the EU, partly thanks to huge oil and gas resources. The five-member committee is appointed by parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Jagland has long favored EU membership."
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