EU Increases Representation on U.N. Security Council
NYTimes Bemoans Europe's “Waning Influence”
4:01 PM, Oct 15, 2010 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
In the annals of mind-bendingly obfuscatory teaser lines, the following from the New York Times surely must be given pride of place: “Germany may have secured one of the new nonpermanent seats on the U.N. Security Council, but with the rise of China, Europe’s influence is waning.” The teaser leads to the equally obfuscatory article available here and it indeed nicely captures the article’s tenor.
Never mind the Times’s typical conflation of Europe and Germany – as if it goes without saying that Germany’s interests are identical with that of all Europeans. What really happened on Tuesday, when both Germany and Portugal were elected to the Security Council, is that Europe’s international influence precisely and obviously increased. The election of the two countries means that beginning in January EU member states will hold four of the fifteen seats on the Security Council: including, of course, the permanent seats of France and Great Britain. In the Council’s present composition, EU countries hold three seats. China, with more than twice the population of the EU, will continue, of course, to have only one.
The Times article refers to the allegedly declining influence of the EU in the General Assembly. But it was precisely the Assembly that elected the two EU states to the Council. The mere fact that the EU was able to secure both seats – to the detriment of hapless Canada – thus indicates that the EU’s standing in the Assembly can hardly be so dismal as the Times appears to believe. In any case, it is, of course, in the Council, as the sole UN body with the authority to take binding decisions, that the real power in the UN lies.