Graham Watson: Time for Europe to take Closer Look at Bokova
UNESCO head Irina Bokova is the best candidate to take over the United Nations Secretary General, Sir Graham Watson, MEP and former head of the liberal party, writes.
He points to Bokova's contribution to both UNESCO, the UN cultural body (which “has notably shifted to make a more pivotal role in the fight against terrorism" under Bokova's leadership) and the accession of Bulgaria to the EU and NATO.
“Time for EU member states to take a closer look at Irina Bokova,” he concludes in an opinion piece published by EurActiv, where he also warns Eastern Europe should not take its turn to head the UN for granted. Even though the principle of rotation is an "established convention" within the UN, "there is a real risk that if Eastern Europe is unable to unite around a credible candidate, it could be overlooked for Latin America, which has supplied only one Secretary General to date," Sir Graham Watson says.
Bokova is also "the only UN official to receive such praise given the historically frosty relations between the UN and Israel," Watson adds, recalling she has been commended by both Jewish organizations across the world and the Israeli Knesset.
He opines that Bokova meets all the important criteria to take over as UN Secretary General, being a woman from Eastern Europe, an “experienced leader”, "viewed as a safe pair of hands... who can act as a bridge between the leading powers" and having experience of the UN system needed to "navigate the waters and amass and provision the ships of this huge fleet" of approximately 44 000 staff.
Commenting on EU Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, whose name had often been mentioned as a potential candidate, he says: "Kristalina is too valuable to lose from Europe".
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