Sunday

22nd Jul 2018

EU prepares to let commissioner go to UN

  • EU budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva (l) with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon (c) and EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (Photo: European Commission)

Bulgaria's government meets on Tuesday (13 September) amid rumours it may nominate the Bulgarian EU commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, as its official candidate for the next UN chief.

The country’s current choice, Unesco boss Irina Bokova, reportedly faces opposition among some permanent members of the UN security council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

The speculation that Sofia could replace her with Georgieva emerged over the weekend, but has not been confirmed.

Martin Selmayr, the influential head of cabinet of the EU commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, fuelled debate on Twitter last Saturday by saying that Georgieva "would make strong UNSG [UN secretary general], and many Europeans proud".

But a commission spokesman explained on Monday the tweet was not an official endorsement, adding: "I don't think one conclusion [her candidacy] follows from the other [Selmayr's praise]".

Meanwhile, the outgoing UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, would like to see a female successor. Civil society groups and nearly a third of the 193 UN member states have rallied behind his call. The UN has never had a female leader in its 70 years of history.

Amid the swirl of rumour, one EU official told this website that many people in Brussels would be delighted to see Georgieva take the helm in New York.

”It would be a great loss for us, but it would be fantastic for the UN. She could do a great job", he said.

”The question is whether she would be acceptable to Russia,” he added.

Moscow had previously championed Bokova.

But according to Russia’s state-run agency Tass, German chancellor Angela Merkel recently tried to make Georgieva's case to president Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in China.

Sofia has not officially included the Bulgarian candidacy for the UN post in the cabinet’s agenda.

One source in Sofia also told the Reuters news agency that it is ”odd” for others to try to sway its choice of nominee.

"The Bulgarian prime minister is in a very difficult situation … Seems he has not decided yet," the source said.

The next secretary general will be chosen by the UN general assembly and the security council later this month.

Analysis

Will Austria's presidency give EU a populist push?

As Sebastian Kurz's government takes over the helm of EU-policy making for the next six months, Austrian MEPs from opposing sides weigh in on the EU's youngest prime minister's possible influence on the continent's future.

Interview

EU populists not actually that 'popular', says global activist

"The populists are not popular. It's 14 percent of the vote in Germany and smaller percentages in other countries," says global campaigner Ricken Patel, considering to use his organisation, Avaaz, to raise turnout in next year's European parliament elections.

Analysis

Will Austria's presidency give EU a populist push?

As Sebastian Kurz's government takes over the helm of EU-policy making for the next six months, Austrian MEPs from opposing sides weigh in on the EU's youngest prime minister's possible influence on the continent's future.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us