European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) recieves flowers from the Nowegian Ambassador Atle Leikvoll (R) following the news that the European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize by the Nobel Committee, at the EU commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium: photo – EPA
Sikorski added in a statement: “The Nobel Peace Prize signifies that European integration is a guarantee of peace in the region.”
The prize, worth 1.2 million USD will be presented in Oslo on December 10.
The head of the Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, has said of the announcement, Friday, that the EU has a history of over 60 years of peace, respect for human rights and democratic principles.
"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights," he said.
The decision by the five-member panel, led by Jagland who is also Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, was unanimous, Reuters reports.
"I have to say that when I wake up this morning, I did not expected it to be such a good day,” said president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
"It was with great emotion that I received the news of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union," Mr Barroso added.
"The EU was designed and created to guarantee peace on the European continent and is based on values such as democracy, rule of law, concern for marginalized groups and equal opportunities,” says Polish MEP Lena Kolarska-Bobinska (Civic Platform), welcoming the award.
Lech Walesa, however, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, said he was “negatively surprised” by the decision to award an institution the prize, and not, as usual, an individual who has made “struggle and sacrifice” to achieve “peaceful methods of changing the world," he told the PAP news agency. (pg/ab)