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Summary: The United Nations Security Council Reform and the Powers’ Interests

Heinz Brill

In the year 60 of its existence the United Nations have run into a reform particularly about the structure of the Security Council. There is more or less agreement that the structures having existed since the end of World War II cannot meet the geopolitical requirements of the 21st century any longer. Africa, Latin America, Australia, and the entire Arabic Islamic world are not represented in the Security Council, and neither are the economic superpowers Germany and Japan, although Tokyo pays the second largest share of the UN-budget.

While there is agreement concerning the necessity of an enlargement, there are, however, different opinions as to the how and who. China opposes the integration of Japan, Argentina and Mexico do not find pleasure in Brazil’s candidature, and Italy does not hide its opposition against Germany’s seat in the Security Council. Berlin did not make hay while the sun shined in the beginning of the 90ies, when initially Russia and then the USA decidedly supported Germany’s permanent seat in the Security Council. In the meantime the tide has turned due to the Iraq war. Italy opposes in order not to become "second-rate”, and demands a permanent seat for the EU instead for Germany. At present, however, this is an illusion, because the veto powers France and Great Britain would have to do without privileges, because an amendment of the UN Charta would be necessary in order to admit confederations, and because so far the EU has not been able to agree on a common foreign policy.

It has already become certain that a reform of the Security Council must be seen in connection with a reform of UN structures and tasks, but one has to remember that due to the veto of one of the five permanent members failure cannot be precluded.

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