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Protests as EU prepares to pick up Nobel Peace Prize

Protests as EU prepares to pick up Nobel Peace Prize
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All three of the EU’s largest figures are in Oslo to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the bloc in October.

Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will attend Monday’s ceremony.

“We have come to Oslo to celebrate a major achievement – how Europe came from a continent of war to a continent of peace – and one moment proved crucial. Only five years after the end of World War Two, two rival countries decided to change the course of history and from enemies to become partners,” said Van Rompuy.

Protests were held in the Norwegian capital on Sunday night, with angry demonstrators citing the EU’s arms sales to conflict areas, the lack of help for refugees and social upheaval caused by the handling of the financial crisis.

“They are selling weapons and they are undemocratic and they are mistreating people in Greece. It’s just a disaster,” said protester Odd Brunland.

“I really disagree with how they are handling the financial crisis. I really don’t take it, it makes me very, very angry that they are getting the peace prize. Now it’s like a hit in the face of everybody who is suffering in Greece,” added another protester Haldis Grettvett.

Only about two-thirds of the 27 leaders of member countries are going to Oslo – Germany’s Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will be there, but UK Prime Minister David Cameron will not.