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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to European Union

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OSLO, Norway) -- This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winner on Friday, saying in a statement, "The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."

[ CLICK HERE TO READ THE NORWEGIAN NOBEL COMMITTEE'S FULL STATEMENT ]

While the committee noted that the EU is currently facing "grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest," it said it wanted to focus on these achievements, which it considers as the union's "most important result."

"The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace," the committee said.

"The work of the EU represents 'fraternity between nations,' and amounts to a form of the 'peace congresses' to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will," it added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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