The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe. Despite being in the midst of its biggest economic crisis since the bloc was created in the 1950s, the Norwegian prize committee awarded the EU for six decades of contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said, "The stabilizing part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace."

The EU rose from the ashes of World War II, born of the conviction that ever-closer economic ties would make sure that century-old enemies never turned on each other again. It now consists of 500 million people in 27 nations, with other nations lined up, eager to join.