Hungary objects to Rutte leading NATO, citing his push for EU sanctions over democratic breaches
Donald Trump and Mark Rutte (Photo: EPA/ JIM LO SCALZO)

Budapest opposes Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte heading NATO when the post vacates at the end of 2024, said Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, according to Politico.

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"We certainly can’t support the election of a person to the position of NATO’s secretary general, who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees," the diplomat said.

He recalled that in 2021 Rutte condemned new anti-LGBT legislation introduced by Hungary's prime minister, saying the country "has no business being in the European Union anymore".

"The long-term aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this issue," Rütte said at the time.

Szijjártó's remarks came a few days before Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, in Florida.

On November 1, 2023, Politico reported that Rutte was the front-runner for the post of NATO chief after he declared his interest in the post. At the same time, three factors can become obstacles for him: gender, nationality and low defense costs of the Netherlands.

Also in November, Bloomberg journalists pointed out that Rutte may be better prepared than other candidates to oppose Trump if he wins the 2024 election — it is believed that Rutte had good relations with Trump, who has previously threatened to withdraw the United States from the military alliance.

In 2014, Stoltenberg became the Secretary General of NATO. His term of office was extended in 2019 and 2022. On June 16, he once again emphasized that he does not want to remain the secretary general of NATO after the end of his term of office. At the same time, according to the media, Biden allegedly personally persuaded Stoltenberg to remain at the helm of the Alliance.

Earlier, the former British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, applied for this position. He said that this is the job he would like.

On January 19, 2024, it became known that the countries that support the candidacy of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands for the post of NATO head are working to resolve this issue by the summer.