European Union Honored with Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Committee in Oslo today awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."

The Nobel committee said in a statement:

In the inter-war years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made several awards to persons who were seeking reconciliation between Germany and France. Since 1945, that reconciliation has become a reality. ... Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable.

The committee's statement specifically mentioned, Greece, Spain and Portugal, three EU member nations in the midst of economic and monetary crisis. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership to the union, as all three countries had seen dictatorships in the 20th century even after World War II.

The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee said that this year's winner was selected from among 231 nominations, 43 of which were for organizations and the rest for individuals.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 93 times since 1901. Former winners have included Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and his Israeli counterpart Menachem Begin, South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, and former Tibetan head of state in exile the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as organizations UNICEF, the Quakers, Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross.