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HomeWorldEU, US support outgoing Dutch PM Mark Rutte as NATO chief

EU, US support outgoing Dutch PM Mark Rutte as NATO chief

  • Rutte endorsed for NATO leader
  • Key nations support candidacy
  • Assumes role in critical times

Amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany have all endorsed outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the position of NATO’s next secretary-general. This development comes at a critical juncture for the alliance.

Leading NATO allies endorsed Rutte on Thursday as the ideal candidate to succeed the current chair, Jens Stoltenberg, in October, thereby enhancing his prospects of assuming the leadership of the transatlantic alliance.

Assuming office at a critical juncture, Stoltenberg’s successor will be responsible for maintaining the support of NATO members for Ukraine’s expensive defence while preventing an escalation that would directly pit the alliance against Moscow.

“The United States has made it clear to our allies, our NATO allies, that we believe Mr Rutte would make an excellent secretary-general for NATO,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, told journalists on Thursday.

Broad Support for Rutte’s Candidacy

The spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that the United Kingdom “strongly supports” Rutte and that it desired a candidate who would “maintain NATO’s strength and deliver on the alliance’s NATO 2030 vision.”

Furthermore, the British Foreign Office stated that Rutte was a highly regarded individual throughout NATO, possessing substantial credentials in defence and security, and that he would ensure the organisation’s continued strength and readiness to defend itself.

According to a senior French official who spoke to Reuters, President Emmanuel Macron was an early proponent of appointing Rutte to the position. Additionally, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit praised Rutte as “an outstanding candidate” on X, stating that he had Berlin’s support.

Rutte is the only official candidate for the position in the behind-the-scenes contest, according to diplomats. However, some have recently mentioned Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’s name in informal discussions. Possible additional contenders comprise Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, and Krisjanis Karins, the foreign minister of Latvia.

However, diplomats claim that Rutte is in a commanding position with the backing of Washington, the preeminent power of the alliance, the three major European nations, and approximately sixteen other NATO members.

Nevertheless, certain analysts opine that he might encounter resistance from Turkey and Hungary.

Rutte Eyes NATO Leadership Role

In October, after previously ruling himself out for the NATO position, Rutte, 57, told Dutch media that presiding over the military alliance was a “very interesting” opportunity and he would be receptive to the notion.

During his presidency, Rutte, the longest-serving leader of the Netherlands, has maintained amicable relations with numerous British, European Union, and American leaders, including Donald Trump.

Trump, who is positioned to seek re-election as president of the United States later this year, attracted severe criticism earlier this month from Western officials for doubting his dedication to defending NATO allies.

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Rutte exhorted European leaders over the weekend to “cease moaning, whining, and nagging” about Trump and instead concentrate on strengthening Ukraine’s defence and providing assistance.

Established in 1949 as a strategic response to the Soviet Union’s activities during the Cold War, NATO is a North American and European political and military alliance.

In order to appoint leaders of NATO, all members require consensus; therefore, they must all agree to the final decision. At present, the alliance comprises 31 members; they position Sweden to become a member in the near future.

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