12 October 2012 - Cheers all around at the news that the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 would be awarded to the European Union. 10 December 2012 – finally the much awaited day of the Award ceremony in Oslo arrived too.
The prize was received on behalf of the EU by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barrroso, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. The traditional Nobel lecture was given by Presidents Van Rompuy and Barroso.
In his acceptance address President Van Rompuy said: "At a time of uncertainty, this day reminds people across Europe and the world of the Union's fundamental purpose: to further the fraternity between European nations, now and in the future". He also addressed young Europeans, drawing their attention to the challenges of the future: "Our continent, risen from the ashes after 1945 and united in 1989, has a great capacity to reinvent itself. It is to the next generations to take this common adventure further. I hope they will seize this responsibility with pride".
President Barroso stressed that the EU will continue its efforts to foster the values which brought it the Nobel Peace Prize: "My message today is: you can count on our efforts to fight for lasting peace, freedom and justice in Europe and in the world". Referring to the achievements of the past sixty years of the European project, he concluded: "Here today, our hope, our commitment, is that, with all women and men of good will, the European Union will help the world come together”.
Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, stated in his presentation speech that "The EU has in fact helped to bring about both the “fraternity between nations" and the "promotion of peace congresses” of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will. The Nobel Peace Prize is therefore both deserved and necessary. We offer our congratulations".
Four young Europeans, winners of the online drawing and writing contest organised by the EU, joined the EU Delegation in Oslo to collect the prize. The lucky youngsters are: Ana, 12 years old, from Spain, Elena, 16, from Italy, Ilona 21, from Poland and Larkin, 23 from Malta.
How is the Prize winning being celebrated around the world?
EU Delegations around the world hold diverse events to mark this unique occasion. Screenings of the Nobel ceremony, receptions, concerts, debates, conferences and exhibitions are gathering local political leaders, civil society representatives, intellectuals and key media to celebrate this great day for the European Union.
Furthermore, on 11 December 2012, New York City's iconic landmark, the Empire State Building, will be lit in the European Union's flag colors, blue and yellow, to mark the award of the Nobel Peace Prize. Read more about it here
(link available till 17 December)