The European Union has broken down borders and created cross-border unity in a formerly war-torn continent. The EU gets the 2012 Peace Prize for its advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
In his announcement today Nobel Committee leader Thorbjørn Jagland underlined that “the Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace.”
The Union wins the prize both for its historical achievement in the 20th century, as well as for its current work. The Nobel Committee argues that the enlargement of the Union to the Balkans brings a new level of stability to the troubled region. Croatia will become member in 2013, while membership negotiations have been started with Montenegro and Serbia has got candidate status.
Also in the High North, the European Union has long played an important role. Ongoing processes on European integration and region-building were key elements behind the establishment of the Barents Cooperation in 1993. In 1997, the union strengthened its work in the region with the establishment of the Northern Dimension, an initiative which now includes the EU, Russia and Norway.
Today, the EU continues to play a key role in the High North. In June this year, the Commission presented its new Communication on the Arctic, a document which highlights the union’s major contribution to cooperation in the region.
The European Commission is a member of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and is likely to soon get observer status in the Arctic Council.