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Romanian candidate for NATO secretary general

The president of Romania, Klaus Ioannis, has announced he will run for NATO leadership

Foto: presidency.ro
Foto: presidency.ro

, 13.03.2024, 14:00

 

A former ambassador to Washington and a former foreign minister in the early 2000s, when Romania was admitted into NATO, Mircea Geană has been the deputy secretary general of the Alliance since October 2019. This is the highest international position held by a Romanian official. And as of recently, as the media in Bucharest noticed, Geoană has been more often in Romania than in Brussels, which suggests his intention to run for president of Romania once again, after losing the election in 2009.

 

In Bucharest, a resolute Atlanticist and pro-EU Klaus Iohannis concludes this year his second term in office as president of the country. As many observers had expected, on Tuesday he announced his candidacy for the top NATO post. The position will be vacated this year by the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, after a decade in office.

 

According to Iohannis, his strengths at the helm of the strongest political and military alliance in history would be a deep understanding of the challenges facing NATO, as well as the performances of his country, a NATO member state neighbouring the Russia-invaded Ukraine.

 

“In a complicated security context, our country has proved to be a pillar of stability in the region,” the Romanian official said, and added that it was time for Romania to take even more responsibility within the Euro-Atlantic leadership structures.

 

Analysts say the candidacy comes against the background of East European states requesting not to be overlooked in the distribution of top posts in NATO and the European Union. Romania and other eastern partners explicitly called for better representation in NATO structures, especially at a time when the regional security is threatened by the war in Ukraine.

 

But critics in the country claim NATO deserves better than Iohannis. According to them, during his decade-long presidency Iohannis achieved nothing of note; instead, he has been criticised for his arrogance, apathy, penchant for opulence and lack of communication skills.

 

What we know so far is that the Romanian president’s challenger for the NATO position is the Dutch PM Mark Rutte, who also takes a step back from national politics. Rutte is backed by major NATO Allies such as the US, Britain, France and Germany.

 

But the appointment is made following diplomatic consultations between all member states, and a decision is announced only when a consensus has been reached on one candidate. And Rutte, seen with unfriendly eyes in Turkey, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, is now far from unanimity. (AMP)

Photo: geralt / pixabay.com
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