The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to the European Union for the advancement of “peace, democracy and human rights in Europe.”
"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," Nobel Committee president Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo.
"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," he said.
Commenting on the award, President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso tweeted "It is a great honour for the whole of the EU, all 500 million citizens."
Russian human rights activists, however, expressed surprise at the decision. Lev Ponomaryov, leader of the For Human Rights initiative said "the prize should be given to people who often put their lives at risk in the actual struggle for peace, not to agencies.”