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EU wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize for its historical role in uniting its continent.

European Union. Picture: AFP/Philippe Huguen

OSLO - The European Union has won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its historic role in uniting the continent.

The prize, worth $1.2 million, will be presented in Oslo on December 10.

The decision by the five-member panel, led by Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland, was unanimous.

The Nobel committee and the EU delegation to Norway was not immediately available for comment.

Founded with the Treaty of Rome in 1957 with a community of six nations seeking greater economic integration, the bloc has expanded to 27 including east European states added since the Cold War.

But the EU is mired in crisis with strains on the euro, the common currency shared by 17 nations.

The prize was a surprise, especially given the EU's current woes. And many Norwegians are bitterly opposed to the EU, seeing it as a threat to the sovereignty of nation states.

Norway, the home of the peace prize, voted "no" twice to joining the EU, in 1972 and 1994.

The country has prospered outside the EU, partly thanks to huge oil and gas resources.

The five-member committee is appointed by parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Jagland has long favoured EU membership.

Jagland earlier said the decision was unanimous and "not particularly complicated".