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Former Chancellor Lord Lamont has criticised today's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, saying it was 'preposterous and absurd.'
The European Union was set up after World War Two to ensure the such a conflict would never afflict the continent again. It is based on the principles of 'peace, stability and prosperity' and began purely as an economic union. Here are some of the key dates in the European project:
- 1951: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Paris, creating the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)
- 1957: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg sign the Treaty of Rome establishing European Economic Community (EEC)
- 1974: The European Council is created as an informal forum for heads of state and government
- 1979: The Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) is formed, linking seven national currencies
- 1991: Maastricht Treaty sets the timetable for a single European currency by 1999. The EC is renamed the European Union
- 1999: The Euro is launched replacing national currencies in 11 countries
- 2007: 27 EU countries sign the Treaty of Lisbon, critics say the treaty erodes democracy by moving power away from national governments
- 2009: Greece doubled it deficit estimate, triggering the still raging eurozone crisis
Tony Blair has congratulated the European Union on winning the Nobel Peace Prize:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union was a recognition of its historic role in promoting peace and reconciliation:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace to the European Union. Lars Bevanger made the announcement saying:
"The Union, and its forerunners have for six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. [...]The stabilising work of the European Union turned a continent of war into a continent of peace"
Citizens of the European Union have been giving their reaction to winning the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize on the Nobel prize website.
The NATO Secretary General has congratulated the European Union on winning the Nobel Peace Prize:
$1.2 million will be awarded along with the prize when it is presented in Oslo in December 10.
If this was divided between the 497,481,657 people of the European Union, everyone would get 0.0024 cents each, or 0.0015p.
Latest ITV News reports
The European Union's three presidents collected the Nobel Peace Prize today in Oslo.