Stoltenberg calls Rutte 'very strong candidate' to succeed him as NATO chief
Jens Stoltenberg (Photo: EPA)

Current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg considers Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte a "very strong candidate" for his position, reported the press service of the Alliance.

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"I think Mark Rutte is a very strong candidate. He has a lot of experience as Prime Minister. He's a close friend and colleague, and I therefore strongly believe that very soon the Alliance will have decided on my successor, and that will be good for all of us, for NATO and also for me," Stoltenberg said.

He also called it "good news" that after negotiations with the head of the Hungarian government, Viktor Orbán , who promised not to interfere in NATO affairs, the election of Stoltenberg's successor is close.

In March 2024, Hungary declared that they did not see the head of the Dutch government as the secretary general of the Alliance – they said that he wanted to "bring the country to its knees" because of anti-LGBT legislation.

Already on June 6, Budapest said that they would support Rutte's candidacy if he promised "not to involve" Hungary in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

On June 18, RTL News reported that Budapest agreed to support Rutte. This happened after a conversation between Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán and current NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.