OSLO, Norway The European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday for promoting peace and human rights in Europe after the devastation of World War II, and the bloc was urged to use that unity in its battle with the region’s economic crisis.
About 20 European government leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, attended the ceremony in the Norwegian capital.
But not everyone approved the decision to give the prize to the EU, which was created 60 years ago.
Three Peace Prize laureates — South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina — have demanded that prize money of $1.2 million not be paid this year. They said the bloc contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security.
Amnesty International said Monday that EU leaders should not “bask in the glow of the prize,” warning that xenophobia and intolerance are now on the rise in the continent of 500 million people.
Prize committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland handed the Nobel diplomas and medals to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and president of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz at a ceremony in Oslo’s City Hall.