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OSLO, Norway (AP) -
The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the midst of its greatest crisis since its beginnings in the 1950s.
The Norwegian prize committee the EU received the award for six decades of contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."
Some reaction to the European Union being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday:
"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" - Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.
"We must never forget that, at its origins, the European Union brought together nations emerging from the ruins of the devastating Second World War and united them in a project for peace ... The Nobel peace prize council, and in fact the international community, are now sending a very important message to Europe - that the European Union is something very precious, that we should cherish it." - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
"Nobel prize for the EU. At a time Brussels and all of Europe is collapsing in misery. What next? An Oscar for Van Rompuy?" - Dutch euroskeptic lawmaker Geert Wilders, referring to Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.
"The EU is an unique project that replaced war with peace, hate with solidarity. Overwhelming emotion for awarding of Nobel prize to EU." - Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, on Twitter.
"I think it's an absolute disgrace. I think it brings the Nobel Prize into total disrepute." - Nigel Farage, head of Britain's euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party.
"If they want to give the prize for preserving the peace in Europe, they should divide it between NATO and the EU. Until the end of the Cold War, it was NATO more than anyone else that kept the peace." - former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind.
"The European Union has played a vital role in healing the wounds of history and promoting peace, reconciliation and cooperation across Europe" - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"For over 65 years on our continent is at peace. Former enemies are now close partners and friends. Today, Germany is surrounded only by friendly nations." - Hermann Groehe, general secretary of German Chancellor Angela's Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party.
Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize since 1998:
- 2012: The European Union.
- 2011: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.
- 2010: Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
- 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama
- 2008: Martti Ahtisaari
- 2007: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore
- 2006: Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank
- 2005: International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei
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