Friday October 12,2012
By Emily Fox
THE EU has won the Nobel Peace Prize despite years mired with financial crisis, protests and the looming prospect of a break up.
In a bid to play down the eurozone debt crisis the $1.2million award went to the body in Brussels for its historic role in uniting the continent.
Despite riots in Greece, Spain and Italy, the five member panel ruled that the Peace Prize should go to the EU.
The decision, which was announced in Oslo and led by Council of Europe's Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland, was said to be 'unanimous'.
Mr Jagland, who has long favoured EU membership, told the Norwegian radio NRK, that the decision was "not particularly complicated".
Announcing the decision he said: "The stabilizing part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."
The Nobel committee praised the 27-nation EU for rebuilding after World War Two and for its role in spreading stability to former communist countries after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
It said the EU received the award for six decades of contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
Meanwhile critics of the prize argued that it should have instead gone to bloggers from the Arab spring, Russian rights activists and even Julian Assange instead of the European body.
The European Union has been mired in crisis with strains on the euro and has been hit by protests throughout its 17 nation members over the past four years but the committee argued its role in the past was enough to guarantee the prize.
President of European Parliament Martin Schulz said he was "deeply touched and honoured" that the EU had won the Peace Prize.
EU chief Jose Manuel Barroso said: "We must never forget that the EU united nations after the second world war
"The EU is something very precious, we should cherish it for the good of all Europeans and throughout the world."
Norway, which is 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.
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