Born, it is decided for the future general secretary: all the post-Stoltenberg names

Jens Stoltenberg will be in full view at the White House as Europe awaits a “white smoke” from Joe Biden over the future of NATO leadership. In fact, for months the European allies have been discussing the name of the possible successor to the secretary general, whose almost ten-year term has already been extended until next September, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. With Stoltenberg, who in recent months has clarified that he does not intend to accept a new extension of the mandate, many names have been included, and perhaps immediately excluded, in NATO’s ‘full names’ game. However, Biden and his administration continue to maintain the utmost secrecy, limiting themselves to continuing to praise Stoltenberg’s work and remembering that the president has not yet made a decision on a candidate. The time for a decision, all the more important as it comes at a time when the Alliance is doing its utmost to support and help Ukraine against Russian aggression, is running out, as what is meant by deadline, the summit from Vilnius on 11 and 12 July.

Although diplomatic sources do not rule out the possibility of “a last-minute initiative to extend” Stoltenberg’s mandate, even if he insists on saying that he intends to return to Norway, in recent days the names of two in particular have been released. , Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Defense Minister Ben Wallace. Frederiksen’s stock was boosted by his visit to the White House last week, with many analysts pointing out that the prospect of the first female secretary general, now leader of a country that is a staunch supporter of Ukraine but not part of the hawkish group , could be appreciated by many key members of the Alliance, starting with Biden himself. The prime minister, on her side, says that “she is not a candidate for any position other than the one I already have, and that has not changed since my meeting with the American president”. In NATO circles, however, the narrative is different, with diplomats assuring him that Frederiksen is a serious candidate. However, the British minister does not hide his interest, a hawk like his entire government, in supporting Ukraine, whose candidacy was also the focus of a visit to the White House in recent days, that of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

And to a question about the possibility of the next secretary general being a Briton, with reference to Wallace, Biden, at the press conference with Sunak, did not go far, replying “perhaps, it remains to be seen” and recalling that to decide the name of the NATO’s new leader needs member consent. And on that front, Wallace could have both technical difficulties, with many allies who would prefer to see an elected former head of government, and political, with EU members who would not like a secretary from a non-EU European country. While for the Danish prime minister, the problems may come from Turkey, underline diplomatic sources cited by Politico, noting that Ankara summoned the Danish ambassador in recent months after an extreme right-wing group burned the Koran and the Turkish flag in Copenhagen. And more generally, as the Turkish government has issues with Scandinavian countries and is blocking Sweden’s membership. Other names occasionally circulate, such as Estonian Prime Minister Kajas Kallas and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, also considering that the socialist leader may be in the market for a new job after the difficult general elections he faces next July. . The game is fully open.

Source: IL Tempo