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03/12/2016

UN Security Council reform back in the limelight

Global Europe

UN Security Council reform back in the limelight

The G4 is concerned at the lack of progress being made on reforms.

[Scott Garner/Flickr]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with her Brazilian, Indian and Japanese counterparts to discuss the issue of permanent membership on the UN Security Council. EurActiv Germany reports.

In New York, Merkel met with Dilma Roussef, Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe. The four countries are calling for rapid reforms of the Council.

In order to address the problems facing the world in the 21st century, the Council must be better represented and work more effectively, said a joint statement from the so-called G4 group, after a meeting in New York on Saturday (26 September).

In its current form, the Security Council is believed by reformists to lack legitimacy. The joint statement made the G4’s group position clear that it is concerned that there has been no substantial progress since the UN pledged “quick reform” in 2005. The G4 is now insisting that a binding timetable for reform should be adopted.

>>Read: Time to reform UN Security Council, says GA chief

On the UN Security Council, only the five victorious powers of World War II have permanent seats with veto power; China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA. There are also ten non-permanent members that alternate every two years. These members are not granted a veto.

The Council is able to approve internationally binding military intervention and sanctions. The G4 group, along with other countries, have long argued in favour of reform and the expansion of the number of permanent members.

This is mainly opposed by China, Russia and the USA, who wish to preserve their interests. There are also regional differences to consider: Italy is opposed to German membership, while Argentina and China are against Brazilian and Japanese membership respectively.

Additionally, the African countries have not yet been able to agree on who should represent the continent in an enlarged Council.

>>Read: GA chief: Negotiations to reform UN Security Council must start now

Angela Merkel is one of the leaders that is banging on the door of the UN’s permanent members. The current structure and working processes of the Council are no longer sufficient to tackle current issues. “That makes reform of the Security Council necessary, reform which reflects the real power in the world better than the situation today,” said Merkel.

The G4 will have to find allies if it is to push reform through anytime soon.

“The current atmosphere is that not only we four, but many others don’t agree with the structure and the working method of the Security Council,” she added.