„The Nobel Peace Prize honours the historic achievements of the European integration process. It should also remind us, in particular at this time of crisis, how important it is that we should not give up the fight and that we should do everything in our power to ensure that the European Union does not fail.” This was how Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, commented in a speech on the news from the Norwegian capital that the European Union was to be honoured in these economically and politically difficult times – of all times. Schulz will receive the award together with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on behalf of the European Union.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the award at this specific moment in time „a very wise decision that prompts us all to talk to people even more intensely about what a godsend Europe is.“ This year‘s award in Oslo is not the first to commend the European idea. German Chancellor Willy Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 both for his Ostpolitik and for his commitment to Europe.
The Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded in 2012 for the 126th time; the EU is the 21st international organization to receive it. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) alone has been awarded the prize three times, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) twice. Past winners have included the human rights organization Amnesty International in 1977, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1997, and Médecins Sans Frontières in 1999. These were followed by the United Nations in 2001, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), together with Al Gore, 2007.
The EU will donate the peace dividend – in the form of the Nobel prize money – to children who are suffering from wars and conflicts. The prize is worth approx. €930,000.