The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, for the work in promotion of democracy and international co-operation it has carried out since its foundation in 1957.

According to the five-member judging committee appointed by the Norwegian Parliament and led by Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjoern Jagland, the EU has played a pivotal role in reconciling a continent torn apart by two World Wars and in promoting democracy and integration.

The EU has undertaken "a successful struggle for peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights," Jagland said.

Among its most notable achievements, the Union has successfully put an end to the various years of conflict between France and Germany, according to the committee.

It has also enhanced the cause of democracy in Greece, Portugal and Spain, and promoted human rights and cooperation with Eastern European countries after the fall of the Berlin wall.

The prize, worth $1.2 million, is seen as strongly political, given the turbulence the Union has encountered over recent months.

Discussions on Greece's permanence within the Union and Eurozone have dominated headlines around the world, while anti-European sentiment has been growing in many nations across the continent, with different political parties asking for referendums to leave the Union.

Jagland said the award is messages against nationalisms' upspring: "we should do everything we can to secure what we have achieved."

The EU is the 24th organisation to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in the 111-year history of the prestigious medal.