The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Award To European Union

EU leadersOslo: European Union president Herman Van Rompuy, Manuel Barroso, the EC president and Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, where they will collect this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on Monday on behalf of the 27-nation bloc.We’ve come to Oslo to celebrate a major achievement: how Europe turned from a continent of war into a continent of peace.

Our history proves that we have enough strength and resilience to keep going forward in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity. We want Europe to become again a symbol of hope.  One moment proved crucial. Only five years after the end of World War II, two rival countries decided to change the course of history, and from enemies to become partners. They invited all European countries to join.

The chairman of the Nobel Committee, ardently pro-European Thorbjoern Jagland, stressed however that the EU had played a vital role over six decades in turning a continent at war to a continent at peace.

According to EU leaders, “this Prize is not only a tribute for past achievements. It is also a call to continue to jointly shape our future.  That’s why among the official EU delegation we have invited young Europeans. To come to Oslo, they took part in a EU-wide contest. The youngest won with a drawing, the three others wrote a short text. One winner is from Malta, he is here in the room. His message sums up the Union’s history very well: “My grandparents would have said ‘a dream’. My parents would have said ‘a process’. I say that it’s my everyday reality!”

“Europe is going through a difficult period. We are working hard, jointly as a Union and in all individual countries, to overcome these problems. I’m sure we will succeed. We will come out of this time of uncertainty and recession, stronger than we were before.”

“At the time the success of the enterprise seemed quite improbable. Today we are a strong Union with 27 members, and soon more. It is a proof of the power of political will and imagination.”

More than 20 EU heads of state and government leaders were present at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony at the Oslo City Hall on Monday. Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said that Europe has moved from being a continent of war to a continent of peace, thanks to the European Union.

“In the middle of a difficult period of time for Europe, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has wanted to recall what the European Union means to Europe”, Jagland said.

The presidents of the EU’s three main institutions were presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was being received jointly by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

In his acceptance speech, Council President Van Rompuy paid tribute to the post-war leaders of France and Germany who had forged the EU by uniting their economic interests.

He praised what he called “the EU’s secret weapon – an unrivalled way of binding our interests so tightly that war becomes impossible”.

On Monday, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg hosted a working lunch for EU leaders who attended the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony. The economic situation in Europe has been chosen as the theme for the working lunch.

“Europe is experiencing the worst economic crisis in modern times. The EU and the euro area are under economic pressure. The European countries are implementing tough measures to stabilize their economies. It is also essential for Norway that there is a well-functioning economy in Europe, our most important export market,” said Mr Stoltenberg.

Some 20 participants from the EU, mainly heads of state and government, attended the working lunch, which took place at Gamle Logen.

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