Nobel award recognises Europe as "continent of peace"
OSLO (REUTERS) - The European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday, honoured by the Norwegian committee which looked beyond Europe's current malaise to recognise its decades of stability and democracy after the horrors of two world wars.
Fittingly for an institution with no single leader, the EU sent three of its presidents to the Oslo ceremony for the 2012 prize, which critics including former Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu say is undeserved.
"Sixty years of peace. It's the first time that this has happened in the long history of Europe," Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, told Reuters before the ceremony.
"The facts prove that the European Union is a peacekeeping instrument of the first order," said Van Rompuy, who will collect the prize along with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament.