Spread the love

Dutch PM named NATO chief

Photo: Ludovuc Marin Agence France-Presse Having become Prime Minister in 2010, Mr. Rutte is expected to leave office on July 2 after the swearing-in of the new Dutch government scheduled for that date.

Olivier Baube – Agence France-Presse in Brussels

Published at 11:36 a.m.

  • Europe

NATO's 32 countries named Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as their next secretary general on Wednesday, at a crucial time for the Alliance as Russia continues its war in Ukraine.

M. Rutte, 57, will take office on October 1, replacing Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, who has been in office for ten years.

“I know I will leave NATO behind good hands,” the latter reacted on the social network X. “Mark is a true defender of transatlantic relations, a strong leader and a consensus builder. »

His appointment was also immediately welcomed by the Ukrainian presidency. “Your leadership and commitment to democratic principles are crucial for our common future,” wrote the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration Andriy Yermak.

“Your leadership and your experience will be crucial for the Alliance during this difficult period”, reacted the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, calling for a strengthening of the partnership between the EU and NATO.

Becoming Prime Minister in 2010, Mr. Rutte is expected to leave office on July 2 following the swearing-in of the new Dutch government scheduled for that date.

Veteran of European politics, Mark Rutte very quickly obtained the support of the most important countries of the Alliance, starting with the United States.

His appointment was nothing more than a formality after the withdrawal of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis' candidacy last week.

The last country to defend him, Hungary , had announced that it would now support the Dutch Prime Minister, after having obtained the latter's guarantee that Budapest would continue to be exempt from any military aid to Ukraine. Hungary, a member of NATO and the EU, is the closest country in Europe to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

“Political skill”

In addition to the Russian threat, the Dutch leader will have to deal with the result of the American elections in November. The United States alone represents half of the military weight of the Alliance.

The prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House haunts the corridors of NATO in Brussels. Notoriously distrustful of the Alliance, which he described as “obsolete”, the American billionaire has increased his criticism against the European allies, accused of not spending enough on their defense.

Better “burden-sharing” is a constant American demand and Mr. Rutte has repeatedly stressed that Mr. Trump is right to criticize European inertia on the matter.< /p>

These remarks earned him the title of “Trump whisperer”, the man who whispers in Trump's ear. This supposed ability to coax the former American president undoubtedly worked in his favor, in the perspective of a possible return of the American billionaire to the White House.

Mark Rutte's Netherlands, however, has shown little hurry to respect the commitment made in 2014 by NATO countries to devote at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to military spending. This goal was only achieved this year.

Mr. Rutte, on the other hand, is an ardent defender of Ukraine.

The Hague signed an agreement this year for two billion euros in military assistance over 10 years, then adding another billion. The Netherlands also spearheaded efforts to supply kyiv with F-16 fighter jets, a move described as “historic” by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Thanks to his years of experience in Dutch politics and on the international scene, Rutte has developed a real ability to find balances,” explains Philippe Dickinson of the Atlantic Council.

“This statecraft will be tested to an unprecedented level in the years to come.”

Also read

  • NATO Secretary General urges Canada to hit defense target
  • “Path to peace lies in more weapons for Ukraine,” says NATO chief
  • Mark Rutte now without rival to lead NATO
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116