OSLO, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) was awarded the 2012 Nobel peace prize for advancing "peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe," said Thorbjoen Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, on Friday.
Announcing this year's winner of the Nobel peace prize, Jagland said, "The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."
Over a 70-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars and today war between the two countries is unthinkable, reads the citation.
"This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners," the citation continued.
After reviewing the recent history of EU integration and the plan to admit more members in the coming years, the citation said that the bloc "is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest."
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that it 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.
Norway is not an EU member. Norwegians chose not to join the EU in two plebiscites respectively in 1972 and 1994. But the country was closely associated with the EU through an arrangement known as the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.
While the committee was receiving overwhelming support for its decision from outside Norway, EU opponents in the country openly expressed their anger with it.
Audun Lysbakken, leader of the Socialist Left Party, one of the three ruling coalition partners, said that he sees the awarding is a wrong prize at the wrong time.
It is "unfortunate" to turn the peace prize into a political prize in Norway, Lysbakken told a Norwegian-language online news service.
One EU opponent in the committee, Aagot Valle, has been unable to participate in the evaluation and decision process this year, reportedly due to illness.
"I am surprised, very surprised, that the EU gets the prize, especially this year," Anne Enger, county governor of Oestfold, was quoted as saying.
BRUSSELS, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union (EU) was "a tremendous honor" and "the strongest possible recognition" of its efforts to shape a continent of peace and prosperity, top leaders of EU institutions said here on Friday. Full story
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