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Rutte to be next NATO chief after Iohannis withdraws from race

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 20, 2024 4:45 PM 1 min read
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis visit the "Cincu" military base in Cincu village on Oct. 12, 2022. (Daneil Mihailescu/AFP via Getty Images)
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Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew his bid to become the next NATO Secretary General at a meeting of Romania's Supreme Council of National Defence on June 20, and asked the council to support Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's candidacy.

The Supreme Council of National Defence "declared in favor of Romania's support of the Dutch prime minister's candidacy," Iohannis announced on his website.

Romania was the last of the 32 NATO allies to support Rutte's candidacy, after Hungary and Slovakia endorsed Rutte on June 18.

Orban said he endorsed Rutte after the Dutch prime minister pledged he would support Budapest in opting out of NATO initiatives to support Ukraine.

The same day, current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Rutte as a "very strong candidate" with a "lot of experience as prime minister." Rutte has been prime minister of the Netherlands since 2010.

Stoltenberg's mandate as Secretary General will end on Oct. 1, 2024.

During the same Supreme Council of National Defence meeting, Romania announced it will transfer a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.

How Mark Rutte became NATO Secretary General and what it means for Ukraine
“There was a joke I heard the other day,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told the audience of the Politico Defense Summit in November 2023, as the mandate of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg entered its final 12 months. “The next Secretary General should be from a new member state…

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Ukraine's GDP grew by more than 4% in 6 months.

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