The Security Council (SC) is one of the endeavours in which the crisis of the UN is most acute, but where the problem is also more complex and difficult to tackle. The limits of the SCís effectiveness and particularly representativeness are evident and there is enough agreement on them. Nevertheless, the reform has to face the obstacles generated by the power structure created by the UN Charter, which have consolidated over time. The five permanent members are not prone to accept a substantial change of their status or to loose the powers entrusted to them at the San Francisco conference.
The lack of unity among EU member states has been another crucial obstacle towards a SC reform, as was evident during the 2005 UN reform process (Ronzitti 2005). On one side, Germany and Italy have put forward opposite visions for the reform, enshrined respectively in the G4 and the United for Consensus proposals: Germany strongly campaigned for the increase in the number of the permanent members of the SC, together with Japan, India and Brazil; Italy led a coalition of medium-sized powers in calling for enlargement to non-permanent members and a more important role for regional groupings. On the other side, the two European permanent members of the SC, France and the United Kingdom, have always been reticent in accepting any substantial downgrading of their status in the SC and interpreted their EU mandate in a rather restrictive manner (Hill 2006). The entrenched positions of governments have not yet been given up. The lack of political will together with institutional difficulties have conjured until now against a unitary European representation and action within the SC, including the unlikely option of a European seat.
In the framework of current intergovernmental negotiations on the SC reform, started in New York on February 2009, EU member states could play a role in contributing to the formulation of sharable visions and workable options for enhancing SCís effectiveness.