World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its historic role in uniting the continent in an award meant as a morale boost for the bloc as it struggles to resolve its debt crisis.
The EU has been a key in transforming Europe "from a continent of wars to a continent of peace," Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in announcing the award in Oslo.
"This is a message to Europe to do everything they can to secure what they've achieved and move forward," Jagland said, saying it was a reminder of what would be lost "if the union is allowed to collapse".
He praised the 27-nation EU for rebuilding after World War Two and for its role in spreading stability after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
The prize, worth $1.2 million, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10. The decision by the five-member panel, led by Jagland who is also Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, was unanimous.
The EU won from a field of 231 candidates including Russian dissidents and religious leaders working for Muslim-Christian reconciliation.
But the EU is mired in crisis with strains on the euro, the common currency shared by 17 nations. The prize was a surprise given the EU's current woes.
And many Norwegians are bitterly opposed to the EU, seeing it as a threat to the sovereignty of nation states. "I find this absurd," the leader of Norway's anti-EU membership organisation Heming Olaussen told NRK.
"In Latin America and other parts of the world they will view this quite differently than they will from Brussels. The union is a trade bloc that contributes to keeping many countries in poverty."
Norway, 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.
The five-member committee is appointed by parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Jagland has long favoured EU membership.
Janne Haaland Matlary, Professor of International Politics at the Oslo University, who has twice nominated the EU for the prize, praised the award.
"The European Union has been the most effective creator of peace in the world since its inception with the coal and steel union in the 1950s," she told Reuters. "Today it is unthinkable with military conflict between members in the EU."
Opposition calls for president to be removed from office over misuse of public funds
Several children have been killed in a suicide attack in Cameroon
Concern has grown that a failure of the unstable dam, which stands about 40 kilometres northwest of the city, could wipe out most of Mosul and flood large parts of Baghdad
According to reports, three out of four Palestinian children experience physical violence during their arrest, transfer or interrogation
UN officials say Ban Ki-moon is hoping to enlist Canada as solid ally in months ahead as he pushes for concrete action on climate change, beefing up UN peacekeeping and creating more safe havens for refugees
New Russian proposal apparently does not include removal of Syrian President Assad
UNHCR says Ankara obligated by international law to allow in tens of thousands of refugees who are stranded on the border.
British representative in Syria publishes map showing relatively few Russian airstrikes target ISIL
'Russia needs to join with all of us in understanding that this cannot go on,' John Kerry says
A controversial family of Indian-born businessmen known for their close links with President Jacob Zuma has been put back under the spotlight in South Africa after a key opposition party demanded their ouster from the country.
European representatives say Europe 'must not compromise' democratic values amid worst refugee crisis since World War II
'Having a united island at peace with itself and its neighbours will create more jobs, more prosperity. So, the solution will pay for itself,' UN envoy says
EU president believes Russian airstrikes in Syria 'are making an already very bad situation even worse'
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says the Working Group, although not a court, based its decision on binding international law and that Britain and Sweden should therefore abide by its findings
TIKA releases details of dozens of projects in education, infrastructure and agriculture
'I think we will take very seriously the request from Turkey and other allies to look into what NATO can do to help them cope and deal with the crisis,' NATO chief says