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European Union clinches Nobel Peace Prize for decades of 'peace,' 'reconciliation'

The European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for the 27-nation bloc's history of "advancement of peace and reconciliation," Friday. The award arrives in the midst a crippling debt crisis in the eurozone that has pitted one member country against another as its leaders seek a way out.

The nod to the EU's historic accomplishments—accompanied with a prize worth $1.2 million—is being viewed as a reminder of how the continent rebuilt and rebounded after two devastating world wars while it now works to balance competing visions on how to address economic strains throughout the bloc.


As Reuters explains:

The EU has transformed most of Europe "from a continent of wars to a continent of peace," Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in announcing the award in Oslo."The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest," Jagland said. "The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights."

The timing of the award led some to question the Norwegian Nobel Committee's choice.

"The award could be a morale boost for the continent struggling with a debt crisis and trying to keep the union together,” Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd said Friday morning.

CNBC's Becky Quick called the timing of the award a "head-scratcher" considering the fate of Greece's continued place within the eurozone remains in a strained balance.

"The idea that this is bringing everybody together, sure during the good times when everybody was succeeding, yes it was bringing people together," Quick said. "But now we see things fraying, and fraying in a very bad way."