From our correspondent
berlin – thereIs a woman in the fate of NATO? The question is not merely rhetorical. The mandate expires at the end of Septemberalready extended for one year, The current Norwegian Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. And the debate over who will succeed him is already producing a string of names.
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has revived the alliance in all fieldscompressing it like never before and returning it to its original positionraison d’êtreA fortress against the Russian threat, in defense of the West and its values. Finland’s recent entry and Sweden’s imminent entry point to the pact’s restored traction, which has been weakening in recent years, to the extent that French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO was in a “brain dead state”. but The surge also gave new political weight and great media visibility to the Office of the Secretary-Generalwhich has become more controversial than in the past and the subject of more careful negotiations between member states.
Traditionally, from its inception, while NATO’s military commander has always been an American officer, political direction has been the responsibility of another member state, including Canada. In fact though, All twelve of Stoltenberg’s ancestors were Europeans. But mostly they were all male. Not anymore, sentiment goes. And in fact, the three most frequently mentioned names in the current discussion are feminine.
The former has been Brussels’ favorite rumor for months. The whole city is talking about it. The current chairman of the committee, Ursula von der Leyen, could change the premises And moving from Berlaymont to NATO headquarters, which opened in 2017. Von der Leyen meets all the requirements, as she is a former defense minister, has extensive international experience and has excellent relations with the US administration.
Moreover, it is by no means certain that she will be reappointed at the end of her term in 2024. Not least because this time it will be difficult for her to do so without becoming a “Spitzincandidat” of the EPP. Thus, the NATO General Secretariat would be a neat way out into a perhaps not very powerful but increasingly important position.
However, von der Leyen’s candidacy, which has been officially denied by his spokesmen, has many contraindications. Not only and not so much political, as the reservations of the United Kingdom and above all Poland and Hungary, which do not forgive them for having called into question respect for the rule of law. but Even on merit, given the poor management of the German Ministry of Defense and the disastrous state in which he was left German armyFederal Army. Above all, unlike the Rolling Stones, time is not on their side. If Stoltenberg closes in September, this means that von der Leyen will have to leave the committee chair vacant a year early, at a very delicate stage. “Only if Stoltenberg’s term is extended for another year will von der Leyen’s candidacy make sense,” says an Italian diplomat who has worked in NATO for years. Stoltenberg says he wants to return to Norway, but he says never in these cases.
Too many cases linked to von der Leyen have recently caused a price hike for Chrystia Vreeland, the current Canadian Finance Minister.a mother’s family of Ukrainian origin and a great expert on Russia, where in the 1990s he worked as a correspondent for financial times. She will be the first, not only as a woman but as a Canadian as well. Washington, whose opinion matters so much, doesn’t object to his name, according to The New York Times.
There seems to be less chance of getting the third name, which is Kaja Klass, Prime Minister of Estonia, who does not hide his desire for the position. “It’s time for a prominent position in the European Union or NATO to go to an eastern country”He said recently. Great advocacy for the shipment of all kinds of weapons to Kyiv and for Ukraine’s rapid entry into NATO, a highly controversial topic among member states, and it is feared that as a Baltic state it will lack the necessary balance that the task requires.
But the game is still open, he confirms A mixture of alternative names that are no less authoritative in circulationAnd the. First of all, the Dutch liberal prime minister Mark Rutteat the head of an increasingly shaky government and having all the necessary qualifications, not least to be a tough man in support of Kiev, without being a hawk.Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are also candidates.
The last name is still Stoltenberg’s, meaning a one-year extension that could end up favoring Ursula von der Leyen, but not for sure. time is running out. At the July summit in Vilnius at the latest, NATO must give itself new (or old) leadership.. All the better if it’s a woman.
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