The EU 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 an economic crisis that is causing suffering for many of its citizens.
About 20 European government leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Premier Mario Monti, attended the ceremony in the capital of Norway, an oil-rich country that twice has rejected joining the European Union.
Not everyone approved the decision to give the prize to the EU, created 60 years ago as Europe was struggling to recover from a war that killed millions of people.
Three Peace Prize laureates — South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina — have demanded that the 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.