The Nobel Peace Prize has been collected by the heads of the EU’s three main institutions. The ceremony took place in Norway’s capital Oslo.
The European Union was awarded the prize for its role in uniting the continent and bringing about reconciliation after two world wars.
The prize is given to all Europeans, and leaders from across Europe gave a standing ovation to show their support.
Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland
praised the work of the EU:
“Jean Monet said that nothing can be achieved without human beings but nothing becomes permanent without instuitutions.The EU has constantly been a central driving force throughout these processes of reconciliation.”
He added: “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.”
Jagland commended Germany and France for their part in turning from old enemies into allies:“The presence here today of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande make this day very particular, symbolic for all of us I believe.”
Critics, say the award is inappropriate at a time of economic crisis and recession in the continent.
The prize money of 930,000 euros ($1.25 million) will be given to projects that help children struggling in war zones.