Outgoing Dutch chief Mark Rutte seems to be set to develop into NATO chief | EUROtoday

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BRUSSELS — Mark Rutte, the longtime prime minister of the Netherlands, seems to be set to interchange Jens Stoltenberg as NATO secretary basic, after the final remaining candidate working towards him withdrew from the race, paving the way in which for his choice by allies.

The change of management at NATO, which may very well be formally agreed on inside days, comes at a fragile second for the 32-member army alliance. Thanks largely to Russian President Vladimir Putin, NATO is greater, stronger and extra related than its been in ages, however a rising present of isolationism in some nations has raised questions on its future.

Consensus on Rutte’s candidacy comes simply weeks earlier than allies collect in Washington and because the alliance braces for the doable return of former president Donald Trump. In February, Trump stated he would encourage Russia to assault NATO nations and will think about leaving the 75-year-old army alliance.

Rutte, who has been the Netherlands’ prime minister since 2010, is a veteran of European Union politics who has expertise with many NATO nation leaders previous and current, together with Trump.

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Known for his direct method and pragmatic strategy to politics, Rutte was seen by many allies as the proper chief to doubtlessly work with the previous U.S. president ought to he be elected.

While some European leaders have voiced criticism of the presumptive Republican nominee, Rutte, whereas eyeing NATO’s high job, signaled a willingness to work with him. “We should stop moaning and whining and nagging about Trump,” he stated on the Munich Security Conference.

“I’m not an American, I cannot vote in the U.S.,” he added. “We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”

There isn’t any formal process for choosing the secretary basic. In idea, allies speak till there’s consensus. In apply, there’s normally a big steer from the United States.

The choice on Rutte comes after a number of months of fraught debate and deliberation that spotlighted division between allies and Hungary’s rising roll as a spoiler at NATO.

Though most allies, together with the United States, France, Germany and Britain, backed Rutte way back, allies from the east of the alliance had been pissed off by the selection of a western European, significantly given Russia’s ongoing battle in Ukraine.

Even after these allies received on board for Rutte, Hungary, which has been more and more crucial of NATO’s stance on Ukraine, held out.

In June, Stoltenberg informed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that Hungary may decide out of some NATO plans for Ukraine, reminiscent of an effort to have the alliance play a higher position in coaching of Ukrainian forces and plans to extend army assist.

With simply weeks to go earlier than the summit in Washington, Rutte met Orban on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels, reassuring him that he would honor the deal. He then put the small print of their settlement in writing.

“After yesterday’s meeting in Brussels, PM Mark Rutte confirmed that he fully supports this deal and will continue to do so, should he become the next Secretary General of NATO,” Orban posted on X. “In light of his pledge, Hungary is ready to support PM Rutte’s bid for NATO Secretary General.”

That left Romania, which had put ahead President Klaus Iohannis. On Thursday, he withdrew his candidacy, making approach for Rutte. NATO ambassadors are anticipated to endorse the decide subsequent week, in accordance with officers and diplomats.

Assuming allies make it official, Rutte will exchange Stoltenberg this fall.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/20/nato-chief-mark-rutte/