The Nobel Committee in Norway handed its 2012 Peace Prize to the European Union and thus acknowledged the idea of European Unification and recognised 60 years of peace between its members during which the contentious continent became a precursor of reconciliation, amity, democracy, and human rights.
The prize served as a reminder that the EU had broadly brought quietude to its members and beyond on a continent that demolished itself in two world wars in which millions died. During the announcement of the award in Oslo, Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said that the EU has transformed most of Europe "from a continent of wars to a continent of peace."
Jan Techau, director of Carnegie Europe, a think tank located in Brussels, said the award was both a message to Europe and the rest of the world: "There is merit in cooperation and there is a need for multilateralism." He explained that despite its deficiencies the European Union could still serve as a model to lesser integrated regions such as Asia, where disharmony has been growing between Japan and China.
The Nobel Prize may also be a reveille for Europe to take a stronger role in international affairs, Techau added. The EU is the world's biggest funder of humanitarian aid, but its members have often been in a struggle to take a common view on important foreign-policy issues.