Miroslav Laj%C4%8Dak
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Miroslav Laj%C4%8D%C3%A1k
Miroslav Laj?ák
Miroslav Lajcak 2014 (11981540724).jpg
President of the United Nations General Assembly

12 September 2017 - 19 September 2018
Peter Thomson
María Fernanda Espinosa
9th and 11th Minister of Foreign Affairs

4 April 2012 - 20 March 2020
Robert Fico
Peter Pellegrini
Mikulá? Dzurinda
Ivan Kor?ok

26 January 2009 - 8 July 2010
Robert Fico
Ján Kubi?
Mikulá? Dzurinda
Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

1 January 2019 - 1 January 2020
Enzo Moavero Milanesi
Edi Rama
6th High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 July 2007 - 28 February 2009
Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Valentin Inzko
3rd European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 July 2007 - 28 February 2009
Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Valentin Inzko
Personal details
Born (1963-03-20) 20 March 1963 (age 57)
Poprad, Czechoslovakia
(now Slovakia)
Political partyCommunist Party (1983-1990)
Direction - Social Democracy (Non-member)
Spouse(s)Jarmila Harga?ová
Alma materComenius University
Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Miroslav Laj?ák (born 20 March 1963 in Poprad) is a Slovak politician and diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic.[1] In addition, Laj?ak also served as President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 72nd session from 2017 until 2018.[2]

Early life, education and private life

Laj?ák attended primary school in Stará ?ubov?a. In 1977 his family moved to Bratislava, where he enrolled grammar school on Bilíková Street. He finished the final year of his secondary education at grammar school in Banská ?tiavnica. Later he studied law at the Comenius University in Bratislava for a year before he obtained a master's degree in international relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). As a student he was required[] to join the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He also studied at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In October 2018, he was awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.[3]

Apart from his native Slovak, Laj?ák is fluent in English, German, Russian, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian.[3]

He is married to Jarmila Laj?áková-Harga?ová, a Slovak TV news presenter.

Diplomatic career

A member of the Communist Party, Laj?ák joined the Czechoslovak foreign ministry in 1988. Between 1991 and 1993 Laj?ák was posted to the Czechoslovak and subsequently Slovak embassy in Moscow. He was Slovakia's ambassador to Japan between 1994 and 1998. Between 1993 and 1994 he served as the chef de cabinet of Slovakia's then Foreign Minister and later Prime Minister, Jozef Morav?ík. Between 2001 and 2005, Laj?ák was based in Belgrade as Slovakia's Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro), with competence also on Albania and the Republic of Macedonia.

In 2005 the EU diplomacy chief Javier Solana called Laj?ák to supervise the 2006 Montenegrin independence referendum, which was narrowly approved.[4] Serbs and Montenegrins remember his as a tough though fair negotiator.

On 30 June 2007 Solana again chose Laj?ák to succeed to Christian Schwarz-Schilling as the double-hatted High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (OHR/EUSR).[5] He was soon acclaimed as "person of the year" by both Banja Luka-based Nezavisne novine[6] and Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz[7] dailies. Laj?ák acted in 2007-09 in line with a moderately strong role of the OHR (using Bonn powers more than Schwarz-Schilling but less than Paddy Ashdown); critics of the international supervision of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including David Chandler, pointed to his "authoritarian stance" as responsible for creating further crisis by trying to impose major institutional change and alter the Dayton peace agreement framework without domestic ownership or legitimacy.[8] Laj?ák is deemed to have achieved results on the ground but at the price of endangering the credibility of EU conditionality by accepting merely cosmetic legal changes. The reasons behind his sudden departure from BiH in January 2009 also remain unclear.

Laj?ák did resort to the use of the Bonn Powers in the crisis related to the 2007 Law on the Council of Ministers, which caused a showdown with Milorad Dodik's SNSD.[9] The law, aimed at revising decision-making procedures to make the BiH government less prone to blockages, triggered the resignation of the Bosnian prime minister Nikola Spiric (SNSD) and withdrawal of Bosnian Serbs from state institutions. The OHR then published an "authentic interpretation" of the law, claiming that it did not intend to change the composition of the Council of Ministers.[10] Laj?ák also removed RS police officials deemed complicit in war crimes.[11] Upon instructions of Solana,[12] Laj?ák contented himself of cosmetic changes to bring to an end the police reform saga,[13] leading to the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU in June 2008, despite claims that the EU had lost his credibility by lowering the bar which had been set by Paddy Ashdown in 2005. Laj?ák suddenly announced his departure in January 2009,[14] citing "frustrations" with the office ("I don't want to be the rider of a dead horse");[15] he claimed that Bonn powers prevented Bosnia and Herzegovinafrom addressing its own issues.[16] In August 2008, Laj?ák asked BiH Presidency member Zeljko Komsic to "explain" his congratulations to Croatia on the Day of Victory, due to the different vision of operation Oluja in Republika Srpska and Croatia. [17]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Laj?ák (right) with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in February 2019

From 26 January 2009 until July 2010, Laj?ák served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Robert Fico's First Cabinet.[18]

From December 2010 to April 2012 Laj?ák served as Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans in the EU's External Action Service.[19]

In April 2012 Laj?ák was appointed again, as an independent, to the post of foreign minister and deputy prime minister in Robert Fico's Second Cabinet.[20] He visited again Milorad Dodik in Banja Luka in June 2012.[21]

Laj?ák visited Moscow in May 2014, at the height of the Crimea Crisis, and met with the Russian foreign minister Lavrov and deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, whose name Slovak diplomats had previously unsuccessfully tried to erase from the EU sanctions list. Rogozin and Laj?ák were co-chairs of a joint Slovak-Russian cooperation body. [22]

After the 2014 Bosnian general election, Lajcak encouraged Milorad Dodik's SNSD party to enter the government coalition, despite having lost the Presidency seat, claiming that "new authorities must have legitimacy." [23] He visited again Milorad Dodik in Banja Luka in November 2016. [24]

In November 2015 Laj?ák's Slovakia voted against Kosovo's membership in UNESCO.[25]

In November 2016, following revelations by a whistleblower, Transparency International Slovakia accused Laj?ák of dubious procurement contracts during the Slovak EU Council Presidency.[26][27]

During the 2016 Slovak Presidency, the EU Council did not agree on conclusions on EU enlargement; the "conclusions of the Presidency"[28] which were issued instead of the usual Council conclusions were criticised for their wording and dubious legal value.[29]

From May 2016 Laj?ák was one official candidate for the Eastern European Group to succeed to Ban Ki-moon during the 2016 United Nations Secretary-General selection;[30] he received two "discourage" votes from the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and was not elected.

Among other isses, Laj?ák in his candidacy for UN Secretary General addressed the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers,[31][32][33]

In 2016 Laj?ák called on the EU to abandon its "ideological" approach to Russia and ease sanctions.[34] In October 2018 he received an honorary PhD from Moscow's MGIMO, where he had graduated in 1987.[35]

Laj?ák also served as President of the UN General Assembly in 2018; he was the first president to make public his personal financial disclosure summary.[36]

In October 2018 to freeze relations with Vietnam over the case of a Vietnamese businessman who was kidnapped by Vietnamese agents and smuggled back home through Slovakia.[37]

In November 2018 Lajcak lambasted as "antidemocratic" the proposed Kosovo/Serbia land swap and cautioned against the regional repercussions of such a proposal.[38] In the same month, Slovakia abstained on Kosovo's membership in Interpol. [39]

Since 2019, Laj?ák has been serving on the Transatlantic Task Force of the German Marshall Fund and the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS), co-chaired by Karen Donfried and Wolfgang Ischinger.[40]

Laj?ák was particularly active in East and South-East Europe in 2019 as Chairman-in-office of OSCE. He held talks with Lavrov in February,[41] June,[42] and September 2019.[43] He used the visibility of the post to present himself as a possible EU envoy for the Western Balkans for the new EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell.[44] In September 2019, Laj?ák received an honorary PhD by Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic at the University of Mostar.[45] He also repeated Bosnian Croat lines concerning the lack of legitimacy as a Croat of Bosnian Presidency member Zeljko Komsic.[46]

Following the adoption by the Croatian Parliament of a "Resolution on the Position of Croats in BiH and the European Way of BiH", Laj?ák did not join 3 ex-OHR (Paddy Ashdown, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, Carl Bildt) who co-signed a letter denouncing the interference of Croatia in the domestic affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina ; rather, he commented that Bosnian Croats should be made to feel equal.[47]

Between the EU-facilitated 5 August political agreement and the December breakthrough on a new SNSD-led government, on 27 Oct 2019, Laj?ák invited both Milorad Dodik and Dragan Covic to Bratislava for "international mediation".[48] The meeting was criticised for not including the Bosniak side.[49] "Lajcak lost the trust of Bosnian public with these biased moves and discredited himself", underlined the then caretaker prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdic himself.[50]

In March 2020, following the 2020 Slovak parliamentary election, Laj?ák lost his place as Foreign Minister.

Other activities

See also


  1. ^ (www.aglo.sk), AGLO solutions. "Members of the Government - Úrad vlády SR". www.vlada.gov.sk.
  2. ^ "President of the 72nd Session - General Assembly of the United Nations". www.un.org.
  3. ^ a b http://www.setimes.com/cocoon/setimes/xhtml/en_GB/infoBios/setimes/resource_centre/bio-archive/lajcak_miroslav
  4. ^ EU wins Montenegro's support for its referendum formula, published on 2006/02/27.
  5. ^ http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/de/Laenderinformationen/Slowakei/090310-AntrittsbesuchAM,navCtx=31296.html
  6. ^ "Laj?ák is person of the year in Bosnia" (in Slovak). SME. December 16, 2007. Retrieved . Article in Nezavisne novine: [1]
  7. ^ "Laj?ák person of the year again" (in Slovak). SME. December 29, 2007. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Chandler, David (November 20, 2007). "Response: The high representative for Bosnia still runs it like a feudal fiefdom" – via www.theguardian.com.
  9. ^ McEvoy, p. 152
  10. ^ McEvoy, p. 145
  11. ^ Lamont
  12. ^ Petersen
  13. ^ Koneska
  14. ^ Disenchanted Potentate
  15. ^ Ivo Komsic alleged that Laj?ák had been involved in corrupt deals regarding the sale of agricultural and forestry machines by a Slovak company in Republika Srpska (cf. Patria; Patria); the Slovak embassy denied such claims as "misleading statements and senseless accusations" (cf Oslobodjenje
  16. ^ "I am opposing any view that the success of the high representative is being measured just by counting how many times he used his Bonn powers. I disagree with that. I said a number of times that every time the Bonn powers are used, each time local politicians use the powers of the high representative to paper over their own activities, it only prolongs a state of irresponsibility. It postpones a time that has to come -- the time when Bosnia-Herzegovina has to stand on its own feet." RFE/RL
  17. ^ Jutarnji List
  18. ^ http://www.consilium.europa.eu/showPage.aspx?id=1293&lang=en
  19. ^ "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - EU High Representative Catherine Ashton appoints two Managing Directors for the External Action Service". europa.eu.
  20. ^ Slovak Foreign Policy After the 2012 Elections: What To Expect, published on 2012/05/09.
  21. ^ BiH Dayton Project
  22. ^ EurActiv
  23. ^ Analiziraj
  24. ^ press conference
  25. ^ B92
  26. ^ "How I Left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs due to Dubious Procurement Contracts > Transparency International Slovensko". Transparency International Slovensko. November 30, 2016.
  27. ^ Gabrizova, Zuzana (November 22, 2016). "Transparency International looks into Slovak Presidency accounting".
  28. ^ EU Council - Presidency conclusions Dec 2016
  29. ^ East Journal
  30. ^ "Slovak Foreign Minister Eyes UN Sec Gen Post". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27.
  31. ^ Laville, Sandra (18 January 2016). "UN whistleblower who exposed sexual abuse by peacekeepers is exonerated". the Guardian.
  32. ^ https://www.un.org/pga/70/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/Secretary-General-Election-Vision-Statement_Slovakia-2-June.pdf
  33. ^ When asked in his informal dialogues how peacekeeping operations could be strengthened, he said that there have been "three independent reviews that produced a number of recommendations that were turned into concrete resolutions of the Security Council, of the General Assembly, and now we have to implement." He has also consistently stressed the importance of a zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and assault by peacekeepers, with every question asked in the informal dialogues. Laj?ák believes that "It is only with zero-tolerance that the people can trust the United Nations." "Miroslav Laj?ák (Slovak Republic) - Informal dialogue for the position of the next UN Secretary-General". United Nations Web TV.
  34. ^ EU Observer
  35. ^ MGIMO
  36. ^ Sewell Chan (May 11, 2018), Macau Tycoon Gets 4 Years in Prison for Bribing U.N. Diplomats New York Times.
  37. ^ Tatiana Jancarikova (October 20, 2018), Slovakia threatens to freeze relations with Vietnam over kidnapping case Reuters.
  38. ^ Balkan Insight
  39. ^ Milan Nic in Armakolas, Ker-Lindsay
  40. ^ The German Marshall Fund and Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung Launch "Transatlantic Task Force" Setting Path Forward for U.S.-Europe Relations German Marshall Fund, press release of December 12, 2019.
  41. ^ Tass
  42. ^ MZV.sk
  43. ^ MZV.sk
  44. ^ European Western Balkans
  45. ^ Patria
  46. ^ "The election of Zeljko Komsic as a member of the BiH Presidency is in line with the letter, but not the spirit of the Dayton Constitution, because he was elected by the votes of the non-Croat population and Croats in BiH do not feel they have their president or a member of the Presidency." Patria; Brotnjo
  47. ^ "I think it is to the detriment of Croats living in BiH to politicize their issue and use it for any obstacles. I think we should all work to make them feel equal, to feel that they have their political representation and that they do not have the problems that they obviously have. I think we should work that way because this kind of communication only makes the situation worse," Lajcak said. Brotnjo; Total-Croatia-News
  48. ^ MZV.sk
  49. ^ N1
  50. ^ N1
  51. ^ Members European Council on Foreign Relations.

External links

Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by
Peter Thomson
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
María Fernanda Espinosa
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Christian Schwarz-Schilling
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Succeeded by
Valentin Inzko
Political offices
Preceded by
Ján Kubi?
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Mikulá? Dzurinda
Preceded by
Mikulá? Dzurinda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ivan Kor?ok

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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