Slovakia’s FM Lajcak for the next UN SecGen?: Some voices from P5 and V4

The candidacy of Slovak FM Miroslav Lajcak for the next UN Secretary General is now official. In general, what may your country expect from a candidate as P5 country or as V4 country and hypothetically could Slovak FM Lajcak be an acceptable candidate for your country? Read few comments.

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslava Lajcak. Credit: ww.mzv.sk

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslava Lajcak. Credit: ww.mzv.sk

Sergey Utkin, Head of Department of Strategic Assessment, Centre for Situation Analysis, Russian Academy of Sciences

I do not think it would be completely impossible but the probability is low. It looks like the choice will be between Irina Bokova, who is by now seen not that much as a Bulgarian candidate but as an experienced transnational bureaucrat, and Natalia German, who is quite moderate and comes from a country that has some issues with Russia but at least doesn’t impose sanctions on Russia. The very existence of Moldova is dependent upon the mutual understanding between Russian-speaking and Romanian-speaking communities, and support for German could be a kind of charm-offensive on the part of Russia. But Bokova’s candidature is still more probable given her experience.

Daniel Serwer, Senior Research Professor of Conflict Management, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Scholar, Middle East Institute

I do think Lajcak would be an acceptable candidate for the US and maybe even a desirable one. But Washington will likely prefer a woman, if one can be found who is also acceptable to Russia and China.

Zhuang Jianzhong, Center for National Strategy Studies, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

I don’t know what our government position is on the selection of the next SG of UN. In my personal view, he is a proper candidate from the EU and our country has good relations with Slovak. But some people think a woman would be better.

Tim Haughton, Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham

A lot of big questions are off the agenda until 23 June. That decision will have more ramifications for Britain’s foreign policy and its place in the world than the person who fills the post of UN Secretary General. Lajcak is well-regarded and as long as he were to support Britain maintaining its position as one of the five permanent members of Security Council then then I think his appointment would be welcomed.

Dániel Hegedűs, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

Hungary will support with all probability the nomination of Mr. Lajcák to the position of the UN Secretary General. The main reasons are twofold, however both of them root in the fixation of Hungarian domestic politics to the refugee crisis.

On bilateral level, Budapest is highly interested to maintain an unhindered cooperation with Slovakia in the refugee crisis. While Bratislava was Budapest’s most crucial ally opposing the European quota mechanism, the new coalition government of Mr. Fico seems to follow a more constructive and responsible European policy, seeking less conflict with the European Commission and carefully distancing itself from the stigmatized illiberal governments of Hungary and Poland. An aspiration Budapest wishes to counteract with all possible positive measures. If Hungary presents itself as a dedicated supporter of Mr. Lajcák, it will be more difficult for Bratislava to distance itself from Budapest.

Concerning the multilateral level, Budapest exploits the seemingly unified position of the Visegrad Countries in the refugee crisis as a source of legitimacy both home and abroad. As long as this connection exist, Hungary will actively contribute to a growing coherence and importance of the V4 group. As the nomination of Lajcák fits perfectly to this discourse, it is possible that Budapest will plead for the issue with Warsaw as well, a rather difficult mission on its own.

Bratislava needs the support of its neighbours to the nomination. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the dedicated support of those countries which the most explicitly reject the ideas of global (and also European) solidarity and responsibility in one of the biggest contemporary global challenge will be not necessarily an added value in the UN General Assembly.

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