EU backs second term for UN migration chief

The European Union “unanimously” supports IOM president Antonio Vitorino’s retention as head of the UN’s migration agency, said the EU’s top diplomat on Friday.

In next week’s elections, IOM Director-General Antonio Vitorino, a former Portuguese minister, will face a challenge from his American deputy Amy Pope.

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“The (EU) member states have agreed to support unanimously the candidature of Antonio Vitorino,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers.

Vitorino, who was Portugal’s deputy prime minister and defense minister in the mid-1990s, took over the IOM in 2018, ending decades of US leadership.

Pope’s campaign for the top post has put the UN in the unique position of having a head challenged by a subordinate over what would normally be a shoo-in second term.

Pope has stated that her choice to run against her 66-year-old boss – only the second non-American to lead the IOM in its seven-decade history – was not motivated by restoring Washington’s pick.

She has stated that she will bring “energy levels, strategic vision, and a willingness to work really hard” to the position.

US President Joe Biden has publicly supported her candidacy.

After member nations rejected a candidate accused of anti-Muslim discrimination suggested by then-US President Donald Trump, Vitorino was appointed.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is responsible with supporting hundreds of millions of migrants worldwide while advocating for the benefits of humane and orderly migration.

According to the IOM, in 2021, it will have assisted approximately 32 million individuals in crisis situations and offered routine assistance to millions more.

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