Fumbling EU diplomacy also failed to prevent the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the worst outbreak of armed conflict on European soil since World War II. Tens of thousands of people were killed, but of the new nations that emerged from the former Yugoslavia, one is a full EU member and most of the rest are aspiring to membership.
Not so Norway, ironically, where the peace prize is awarded: Norwegians have twice voted to stay out of the EU. Gasps arose from the audience in Oslo when Jagland declared the winner.
Unusually, his announcement was preempted by a Norwegian broadcaster that had gotten wind of the choice, which normally stays shrouded in secrecy until the final moment.
The prize comes with $1.2 million, a drop in the bucket for the EU, which has shelled out tens of billions to bail out three of its members: Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Deciding who will accept the award on the EU's behalf could set off arguments at headquarters in Brussels and among national capitals. But officials will probably be careful not to be seen bickering over who gets to pick up a prize honoring European unity.
Times staff writer Sergei L. Loiko in Moscow and special correspondent Lauren Frayer in Madrid contributed to this report.