Why Kristalina Georgieva is the best choice for UN secretary-general

Written by on September 29, 2016 in Perspectives - Comments Off on Why Kristalina Georgieva is the best choice for UN secretary-general
Kristalina Georgieva photo EC Audiovisual Service

Kristalina Georgieva has finally convinced her prime minister she stands the best chance to be UN secretary-general. Max Hofmann and Barbara Wesel think the EU Vice President from Bulgaria might be just the ticket.

Because of her personality

Having experienced her in official and unofficial situations both in meetings and conferences from Prague to Brussels, one thing becomes clear: What you see is what you get. Georgieva is authentic. She’s always lively and outspoken, yet listens carefully to whomever speaks with her. At times she is funny, her quips in discussions are guaranteed to provoke giggles, even with the most serious of Eurocrats. She has been known to provoke laughter in budget negotiations. It’s safe to say that she would add some new wrinkles to UN communication, including effortlessness and humor. But Georgieva is also hard working and tough as nails. People who work closely with her in Brussels describe her as relentless. All the people in her cabinet are younger than her but still have to work in shifts to keep up with her. She’ll visit seven different time zones in two days and never miss a beat. Not a bad quality for a secretary-general.

Because she’s from Eastern Europe

The obvious argument here is that the region never had a UN secretary-general. It’s a valid one but not the only one. The region is connected to many of the problems not only Europe but the whole world is facing. Georgieva’s home, Bulgaria, is on the front line of the refugee crisis, a neighbor to Turkey and a mere 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away from Aleppo in Syria, the symbol of one of the most terrifying conflicts in the world. Bulgaria is also very close to Ukraine and Moldova, two countries locked in a frozen conflict with Russia. Georgieva brings the experience of having seen the iron curtain fall and the subsequent changes in Eastern Europe. She has the support of many countries in the region. And she might even be acceptable to Moscow.

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