In 2012 the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said its decision was based on the stabilising role the EU has played in transforming most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
The EU’s most important achievement, according to the committee, has been "the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights".
The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations" and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" cited by Alfred Nobel as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.
The European Union is the 21st international organisation to win the award since 1901.
The prize was conferred in Oslo on 10 December. Like all winners, the EU received the prize from the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament. The traditional Nobel lecture, on behalf of the EU, was given by Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso. Four young Europeans, winners of the online contest organised by the EU (see below) joined the EU Delegation in Oslo to collect the prize.
The EU decided to dedicate the Nobel Peace Prize money (€930,000) to children who are denied the chance of growing up in peace. The European Union doubled the prize money to a sum of €2 million which was awarded to four projects providing education for children affected by conflict.
To mark the award, the EU institutions and the European Youth Forum organised a contest asking young people to explain what peace in Europe means to them.
Children aged 8 to 12 were asked to send their answer in the form of a drawing; 13 to 24 year olds in the form of a short text. Around 5400 entries were sent. Winners were chosen by a jury, chaired by comic book author Jean Van Hamme, and by the a public vote on Facebook.
The four winners were part of the official delegation of the European Union in Oslo to receive the 2012 Peace Prize. They attended the official ceremony on 10 December and the Nobel Peace Prize concert on 11 December.
"The 2012 Nobel Peace prize is not only a recognition of the EU's past achievements: it also looks to the future", said the leaders of the EU institutions. "That's why we want Europe's youth, who are inheriting a continent of peace and who will be responsible for Europe’s future, with us in Oslo".