BRUSSELS: Following is the statement issued by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, on the award of the 2012 peace prize to the European Union.
"It is a tremendous honour for the European Union to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
"This Prize is the strongest possible recognition of the deep political motives behind our Union: the unique effort by ever more European states to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity. It is a Prize not just for the project and the institutions embodying a common interest, but for the 500 million citizens living in our Union.
"At its origins the European Union brought together nations emerging from the ruins of devastating World Wars -- which originated on this continent -- and united them in a project for peace. Over the last sixty years, the European Union has reunified a continent split by the Cold War around values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
"These are also the values that the European Union promotes in order to make the world a better place for all. The European Union will continue to promote peace and security in the countries close to us and in the world at large. We are proud that the European Union is the world's largest provider of development assistance and humanitarian aid and is at the forefront of global efforts to fight climate change and promote global public goods.
"This Nobel Peace Prize shows that in these difficult times the European Union remains an inspiration for leaders and citizens all over the world."