Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte expected to be next NATO secretary general

The man was already the big favorite in the race, but now his victory seems assured due to a lack of competitors. “Long-serving Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appears set to replace Jens Stoltenberg as NATO secretary general, announcement The Washington Post. This, because the last candidate who was still in the running withdrew from the race.” Rutte’s now ex-competitor was the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, who officially threw in the towel on Thursday June 20.

As the American media explains, “there is no formal procedure for the selection of the NATO secretary general, and, in theory, the allies discuss until a consensus emerges”. For months, a general consensus has existed on the name of Mark Rutte, who has the support of the heavyweights of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

However, NATO’s eastern flank allies were frustrated by the choice of a Western European, reports the progressive media, particularly because of the war that Russia is currently waging in Ukraine.” Indeed, this conflict has highlighted the strategic role of Eastern European countries, the first shield against a possible attack from Moscow, which NATO now considers possible in the near future.

“The Orban obstacle” overcome

However, the other obstacle to Rutte’s nomination did not depend on an anti-Russian position, but rather, on the contrary, on the harsher position towards kyiv of a NATO member: Hungary. Indeed, further details the Washington Post, “In June, Stoltenberg promised Budapest Prime Minister Viktor Orban that Hungary would have had the opportunity to withdraw from certain NATO plans for Ukraine,” and, in particular, that Hungarian personnel would not participate in NATO activities in Ukraine, and that no funds from Budapest would be used to support kyiv. On June 18, Rutte confirmed to Orban that this “agreement” would be maintained if he became NATO Secretary General, thus removing the Hungarian obstacle to his appointment.

Billions and F-16s

Rutte’s arrival at the head of NATO in autumn this year is therefore no longer in doubt, but what could it mean for the Alliance? From Brussels, headquarters of NATO, The evening tries to examine the Dutchman’s positions on international politics and provides the following analysis.

“If he is often considered less vehement towards Moscow than his former competitor for the post, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja KallasMark Rutte nevertheless brings with him to NATO HQ a strong mistrust of Vladimir Putin, writes the French-speaking media. ‘What Putin wants is to restore a great Russian empire. This is his delusion, he declared in the fall of 2022. Since then, the head of the Dutch government has committed to transferring military aid to Ukraine which is by no means frugal. Some three billion euros are planned, just for this year (for comparison, Belgium announced 916 million). The Hague also drives the ‘F-16 coalition’, with Copenhagen. However, Mark Rutte’s campaign to win the NATO post is probably not unrelated to this zeal.” A zeal that will ultimately have been rewarded.

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