Romania’s president launches bid for NATO top job against Mark Rutte – POLITICO

“Russia will remain the most significant and direct threat to the Alliance for the foreseeable future,” he wrote.

Iohannis would be the first NATO chief from a country that was once in the Soviet bloc, but he faces an uphill struggle to edge out Rutte.

The U.S., Britain, France and Germany — the four biggest powers in NATO — have all come out in support of Rutte. The outgoing Dutch prime minister is widely credited with being a consensus-builder, a quality that supporters say could be put to good use if NATO-skeptic Donald Trump regains the U.S. presidency.

Getting the top job requires the unanimous backing of all member countries to succeed Jens Stoltenberg later this year, and Rutte isn’t there yet.

Romania, the Baltic countries and Turkey have yet to register their support for him. Sweden, which only joined the alliance last week has also not publicly backed Rutte, despite Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson praising his Dutch counterpart in a POLITICO interview as an “extremely skilled person.”

Hungary actively opposes his candidacy, smarting from the tongue lashing it got from Rutte on backsliding on democracy and its anti-LGBTQ legislation.

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