June 26, 2015
Development Commissioner Neven Mimica is reported to have become a lobbyist for his compatriot Vesna Pusić, who currently serves as First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the centre-left Cabinet of Zoran Milanović.
Ms Pusić recently declared that she will run for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to replace Ban Ki-moon, whose second term expires on 31 December 2016.
The Croatian politician is probably a very fine candidate, but few people have heard of her. So now is the time to lobby for her with the UN’s 193 members.
A diplomat from one of Croatia’s neighbours told Heard in Europe that Commissioner Mimica has already started to lobby on behalf of Ms. Pusić with his counterparts from developing countries. The EU is the biggest provider of development aid. Even if he doesn’t put it in writing, Mimica’s counterparts will understand that they have better chances of obtaining financial support from the EU if they back his candidate.
Until December 2016, the Commissioner will have ample time to see VIPs from almost all UN countries. But it is questionable, to say the least, that Mimica should leverage his role as Commissioner to lobby on behalf of a fellow Croat getting a top job in an international organisation. If Mimica wants to pitch his colleague, he should resign.
If he wants to stay with the Commission, which is highly likely, Mimica should follow the example of Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva. She would never take advantage of her position to support Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian candidate for the UN job.
Photograph courtesy of Novilist.Heard in Europe