European Union (EU)
Prize motivation: "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe"
Field: human rights, world organizing
Prize share: 1/1
After the decimation of the Second World War, reconciliation between Germany and France was an important step towards fostering peace in Europe. The two countries - which by then had fought three wars within the space of 70 years - built the European Coal and Steel Community together with four other countries in 1952. This organization became the foundation for an ever-broader cooperation within what has been known since 1993 as the European Union (EU).
In this time of economic and social unrest, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wished to reward the EU's successful struggle for peace, reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. When the community expanded to include additional countries during the 1970s and 1980s, democracy was a prerequisite for membership. After the fall of European communist regimes around 1990, the union was able to expand to include several countries in Central and Eastern Europe, where democracy had been strengthened and conflict checked. The Nobel Committee also believes that the question of EU membership is bolstering the reconciliation process after the wars in the Balkan States, and that the desire for EU membership has also promoted democracy and human rights in Turkey.