German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement regarding the Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany on October 12, 2012. - 

At last some good news for Europe: Racked by the worst economic crisis in its history, the European Union has just won a prize. The Nobel Peace Prize. The Union is getting the award for promoting peace, reconciliation and democracy in Europe for the six decades since the Second World War.


The timing of the prize may seem odd. Relations between EU member states are strained to say the least. Anti-German feeling, has reached a peak, especially in Greece where protesters routinely brandish the swastika, wear SS uniforms and a Hitler moustache.


The German insistence on austerity has provoked an angry backlash throughout much of southern Europe and there’s even friction between Germany and its most crucial ally -- France.


But Simon Tilford, of the Centre for European Reform, says that’s exactly why they’re giving the EU the Nobel Prize for Peace. "The region is in crisis,” he says, “it’s very difficult to see a way out of it because of political differences between the member states. And I think this just an attempt really to boost confidence, esteem and just give the whole region a shot in the arm.”


He says the Nobel Committee could have gone further and given everyone a laugh. They could have awarded Europe the Nobel Prize for Economics.