The Nobel Committee's decision to award the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is simultaneously surprising and unsurprising.
It's surprising because when I think of institutions which promote peace, the EU doesn't exactly come to mind. But it's unsurprising when you consider the people and organizations the Nobel Committee have picked over the past decade. Most of the honorees can be put into three categories:
A) Democratic Party Presidents, ex-Presidents and would be Presidents (Obama, Carter & Gore);
B) The UN and its various bodies;
C) Or both was the case when Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were bestowed with the Nobel in 2007.
Occasionally, the Nobel Committee has selected a worthy recipient (i.e. microcredit lending innovator Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh in 2006 and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010) but they are the exception rather than the rule.
As for EU, this editorial written by William L. Watts of MarketWatch summed it up best stating that the Nobel Committee's selection "is more likely to provoke bitter laughter than a somber reflection on the achievements of European integration."
Or let me put it this way. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU would be much like awarding it to the Roman Empire in the midst of its fall.