In what may be the most bizarre decision in the history of the award, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union. All 27 nations and 500 million citizens. The Nobel committee cited the EU's contributions to "peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights" that have essentially kept the continent from tearing itself apart, the way it has so many times up to and including World War II.
In the long run, the decision certainly makes sense, as Europe is currently enjoying one of its longest eras of peace and stability since the Union was first born in 1952. After the two nations fought three wars in the span of 70 years, now "war between Germany and France is unthinkable." However, as many people are pointing out, awarding the prize to the EU in 2012 seems odd, when the Union itself is being threatened by economic turmoil and the currency union shared by most of its members appears to be a massive mistake. Given the current money problems, the prize of $1.2 million almost seems like mockery, though some are interpreting the decision as a giant pep talk for a continent that sorely needs a reminder of what it can accomplish.