Normally, the prize committee either honors lifetime achievement or promotes a work in progress.
This year's award does both, Jagland said, noting it "looks backward as well as forward" by recognizing the EU's historic role in building peace, even as nationalist forces that once tore the continent apart are again on the rise.
The citation noted the democratic reforms the EU demands of nations who join. It referred to Greece, Spain and Portugal, which joined in the 1980s after emerging from dictatorships, and to the talks with Balkan nations seeking membership following bloody wars in the 1990s.
Europe's stumbling economy is making it harder for economies around the world to recover and international policymakers are urging more decisive action from the region's governments to deal with the crippling debt crisis.The region is the United States' largest export customer and any fall-off in demand will hurt U.S. businesses â¿¿ as well as Obama's election prospects. ____ Ritter reported from Stockholm. Gronnevet reported from Oslo. AP reporters Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, David Rising in Berlin, Elena Becatoros in Athens and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report. Don Melvin can be reached at http://twitter.com/Don_Melvin .