The European Union will win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its historic role in uniting the continent in an award that plays down the euro zone’s debt crisis, Norway’s NRK public radio said.
The prize, worth $1.2 million, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10. The decision by the five-member panel, led by Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland, was unanimous, NRK said.
“We have had confirmation from people whom we trust who say that it is the EU that will get the prize,” NRK radio said, an hour before the prize announcement at 0900 GMT. The Nobel committee and the EU delegation to Norway was not immediately available for comment.
Founded with the Treaty of Rome in 1957 with a community of six nations seeking greater economic integration, the bloc has expanded to 27 including east European states added since the Cold War.
But the EU is mired in crisis with strains on the euro, the common currency shared by 17 nations.
The prize was a surprise, especially given the EU’s current woes. And many Norwegians are bitterly opposed to the EU, seeing it as a threat to the sovereignty of nation states.
Norway, the home of the peace prize, has voted “no” twice to joining the EU, in 1972 and 1994. The country has prospered outside the EU, partly thanks to huge oil and gas resources.
The five-member committee is appointed by parliament, where parties are deeply split over EU membership. Jagland has long favoured EU membership.
Jagland earlier said the decision was unanimous and “not particularly complicated”.