When the Norwegian head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, revealed to a room full of journalists that the European Union had won the award, his announcement was met with a gasp of astonishment.
This is not the first time the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to an institution. Of the 125 awards, 25 have been given to institutions. So why is this year's decision so controversial?
Some critics say the EU's win has taken a formerly respected award into the realm of political theatre - especially after US President Barack Obama was surprisingly awarded the prize just months after stepping into office. The EU's own win comes amid angry disputes between member states, and with the future of the EU uncertain. So yes, its Peace Prize seems unwarranted.
In an official statement, the Nobel Peace Prize committee said it wished to focus on the EU's achievements in peace and reconciliation and its success in promoting democracy and human rights. But that rationale isn't in line with Alfred Nobel's original purpose: that the prize should go to parties that "in the preceding year have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".
The EU's leadership in Brussels has been criticised for its lack of accountability and disregard for democratic principles. Meanwhile, a severe economic crisis in Europe is causing people much suffering while reviving nationalistic feelings.
The suicide rate has reached a new high in Greece, where many people are without jobs. And as governments cut back spending, people have taken to the streets, and there have been major outbreaks of violence, especially in Spain and Greece. So it is hard to see why the EU should deserve the prize, especially when there's instability across the continent.