Today, the European Union has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. This distinction rewards the “EU’s contribution for over six decades to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”. It valued the stabilizing part played by the EU that “has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. The work of the EU represents “fraternity between nations”, and amounts to a form of the “peace congresses” to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.”
Speaking at 12:50 today at a joint press conference in Helsinki with Prime Minister Katainen, President Herman Van Rompuy said :
“We are all very proud that we receive this Nobel Prize – and we, that means not only the European leaders, but all European citizens from this generation and the former generations. It is a recognition of the work of the European Union as a peacemaker. We were at war during centuries; we had two world wars, that in fact were European civil wars. We put an end to this, and with the European Union wars of that kind cannot happen again anymore.
So the European Union is really the biggest peacemaking institution ever created in world history, and we have still a mission of promoting peace, democracy, human rights – in the rest of the world. So this is a recognition for the work of our predecessors and of all our citizens during the last six decades, and it is the responsibility of European leaders to pursue this work, so that future generations can still enjoy all the benefits of the European Union.
So we are very grateful today that we receive this Nobel Prize, not on our behalf but on behalf of our predecessors, and for what they did. The citizens in all our countries can be proud to be Europeans.”
EUROPEAN COUNCIL, THE PRESIDENT
Press Release, Brussels, 12 October 2012