As Putin menaces and Trump hovers, NATO chooses Rutte as next leader

  26 June 2024    Read: 673
As Putin menaces and Trump hovers, NATO chooses Rutte as next leader

Mark Rutte, the outgoing Dutch prime minister, will be NATO’s next secretary-general, the alliance said Wednesday, at a critical point for transatlantic security as Russia wages war on Ukraine.

“It is a tremendous honour to be appointed Secretary-General of NATO. The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our collective security,” Rutte said.

“Leading this organisation is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I’m grateful to all the Allies for placing their trust in me,” he added.
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Rutte will take over NATO’s leadership on Oct. 1 at a crucial moment in the alliance’s history, in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In November, the United States heads to the polls where former U.S. President Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, has pledged to reassess America’s key role in NATO and threatened to cut aid to Ukraine.

Outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg praised Rutte as a “true transatlanticist, a strong leader and a consensus-builder.”

“I wish him every success as we continue to strengthen NATO. I know I am leaving NATO in good hands,” he said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Rutte’s “leadership and experience will be crucial for the Alliance during these challenging times.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is confident Rutte will continue Stoltenberg’s “outstanding work in keeping NATO strong and united, as we work to strengthen our collective defence and support Ukraine’s fight for freedom.”

Rutte faced a rocky road to the military alliance’s top job.

He started campaigning last November and faced criticism from some of NATO’s easternmost members, including for supporting Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and failing to bring Dutch defense spending up to NATO standards.

Under his 14-year premiership, the Netherlands failed to meet NATO’s defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP, though it is expected to do so this year.

 

Politico


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