Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has said the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is a recognition of the "courage and far-sightedness" of the union's founding fathers.

Leading a formal session of the parliament on 12 December 2012, he said the award ceremony in Oslo that took place earlier in the week was "humbling".

He pointed to Europe's turbulent history, including World War I and World War II and said the reason there was peace in Europe today was down to the EU.

"I'd like to see some of the same enthusiasm in our own member states," he added.

Mr Schulz attended the Oslo ceremony along with Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

Mr Barroso told MEPs he had accepted the award "with great emotion".

He said the EU was "an unprecedented project that has transformed Europe".

The EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October for the union's role in "consolidating peace" since World War II.

In November, three former Nobel laureates - Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina - jointly criticised this year's choice, saying the EU "clearly is not one of 'the champions of peace' Alfred Nobel had in mind".

The European Commission says the Nobel Prize money - about €930,000 - "will be allocated to children that are most in need".

The session in the parliament was attended by a group of specially selected citizens from across Europe.

Larkin Zahra, a 23-year-old from Malta, closed the session with a reading of a sentence he had composed that had won him the chance to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo.

"What does peace mean to me? For my grandparents it was a dream; for my parents, a process; for me, a reality."

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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