10 December –The three presidents of the European Union accepted the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 in Oslo earlier today. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the European Union for six decades of work in advancing peace, democracy and human rights in Europe.
Thorbjørn Jagland, the Nobel Committee president, praised the EU’s role in transforming Europe “from being a continent of war to becoming a continent of peace.”
“The reconciliation between Germany and France is probably the most dramatic example in history to show that war and conflict can be turned so rapidly into peace and cooperation” Jagland said as Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande stood up and joined hands before an applauding crowd at the Oslo Town Hall.
Jagland urged European cooperation and said that unity is “more important than ever” to work through the financial crisis.
The prize was received by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
Van Rompuy and Barroso shared the delivery of the Nobel lecture, From War to Peace: a European Tale.
IIn this speech, Van Rompuy evoked his childhood memories of post-war Belgium and paid homage to those who dreamed of peace on the continent. He also spoke of the current economic struggles as Europe’s current test to “keep its promise of peace.”
Barroso spoke to the EU’s influence outside of its 27 member states and its principles of global solidarity: “As a community of nations that has overcome war and fought totalitarianism, we will always stand by those who are in pursuit of peace and human dignity.”