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Amid criticism, EU receives Nobel Peace Prize (+video)

More than 20 top EU leaders attended today's awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. But critics say the EU's win, coming amid the financial crisis, is inappropriate.

European Union Nobel winners pledged at the award ceremony Monday "to stand by" the euro, saying the single currency was one of the strongest symbols of unity in the bloc's 60-year history.
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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates defended the contested decision to give the prize to the European Union and promised it would emerge stronger from the ongoing social unrest and protests in its member states.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the EU the prize for its work representing “fraternity between nations” and acting as a “peace congress,” among the criteria for the prize in Alfred Nobel’s will. Critics, however, including members of Norway’s ruling government, have called the EU an unworthy winner because of member states’ weapon exports and the ill timing of the prize, given Europe's current fiscal crisis.

“Parents struggling to make ends meet, workers recently laid off, students who fear that, however hard they try, they won’t get their first job: When they think about Europe, peace is not the first thing that comes to mind,” said Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, in his Nobel lecture before more than 20 top EU leaders and hundreds of dignitaries at the Oslo City Hall award ceremony.

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