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Iohannis’ Game of Thrones: Will He Step Aside to Let Rutte Claim the Iron Throne of NATO?

While NATO waits for Jens Stoltenberg’s successor, the last obstacle to Mark Rutte’s appointment as Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance should be removed following an agreement with Hungary’s Orban.

Today, NATO holds its breath as an announcement from Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, the other contender for the succession, is expected. Speculations are rife about his possible withdrawal from the race, which could pave the way for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to assume the role of the military Alliance’s Secretary General.

On June 19, in Bucharest, after a crucial meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Iohannis revealed his decision-making process. He plans to first consult with Romania’s Supreme National Defense Council before making his decision public, a process that could potentially shape the future of the Atlantic Alliance.

In March, announcing his candidacy, the Romanian president said, “It is time” for the country, which joined the Atlantic Alliance in 2004, to “assume an even greater responsibility within Euro-Atlantic leadership.”

Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte Image via X

On June 18, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave his green light to the Dutchman Rutte with a post on X: “With the NATO Secretary General, we have agreed that no Hungarian personnel will take part in the Alliance’s activities in Ukraine and no Hungarian funds will be used to support them. Our next step this week was to ensure that this agreement can stand the test of time. Prime Minister Mark Rutte has confirmed his full support for this agreement and will continue to do so. In light of this commitment, Hungary is ready to support him in leading NATO.”

Since, Hungary and Slovakia have now announced they would support Rutte, making Romania the only country among the 32 NATO member states not to support the 57-year-old Dutch leader.

The Dutchman is expected to be appointed at the Washington summit next month and take over from Stoltenberg in October.



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