Nobel Peace Prize awarded to EU

The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe, in the midst of its greatest crisis since its beginnings in the 1950s.

The Norwegian prize committee said the EU received the award for six decades of contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

"The stabilising 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 chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo.

The EU rose from the ashes of the Second World War, born of the conviction that ever closer economic ties would make sure that century-old enemies never turned on each other again.

The idea began to take on a more defined shape when, on May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that France and the Federal Republic of Germany pool their coal and steel resources in a new organisation that other European countries could join.