Estonia’s Kaja Kallas backs Mark Rutte for NATO top job – POLITICO

His support marks a major victory for Rutte, who has struggled to gain support beyond Western Europe and North America.

NATO, declared “brain dead” by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2019, rose to prominence thanks to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, welcoming two new members – Sweden and Russia. Finland – in recent months.

However, a potential return to the White House of former US President Donald Trump, a NATO skeptic, has raised fears in Europe that Washington could disengage from the military alliance and Europe’s security.

Earlier in the day, Kallas had to deny an April Fool’s joke that she had the backing of heavyweights, including the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, to lead NATO.

Rutte’s path to the position became clearer when one of his rivals, Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, had to resign due to an airline spending scandal.

But Rutte still faces competition from Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who announced a surprise offer last month, arguing that NATO would benefit from Eastern Europe’s perspective.

Over the weekend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outlined his conditions for supporting Rutte’s candidacy, including taking into account the “sensitivities” of third countries. Hungary currently opposes the candidacy of the Dutch leader.


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