Oslo — The European Union (EU) was awarded the 2012 Nobel peace prize for advancing "peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe", according to Thorbjoen Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Announcing this year's winner of the Nobel peace prize on Friday, 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.