NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Berlin/Oslo – The North Atlantic Alliance intends to extend the mandate of its current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg until next April. With reference to high-ranking diplomats, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported this today. Stoltenberg's mandate expires on September 30, the NATO leadership has already extended it once.
The reason for the planned extension, which is to be formally decided in the spring, is Stoltenberg's “exceptional achievements, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine”. Another six months without a change in leadership would also ensure “stability in a challenging time”.
Stoltenberg has previously stated that he has no intention of running for another term. According to the DPA agency, his spokeswoman also confirmed this position today.
Welt am Sonntag also recalls the benefits that an extension of the mandate would bring to Stoltenberg. It would give him the opportunity to chair NATO's annual 75th anniversary summit in Washington in April 2024. Stoltenberg, a veteran economist and longtime Norwegian prime minister, could run for the post of World Bank president, according to media reports. Its current head, David Malpass, expires in April next year, the paper reminds.
Among the possible candidates for the post of NATO Secretary General are Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez or Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose countries are awaiting elections in 2023 and 2024. Sánchez reportedly has good relations with US President Joe Biden, while Rutte is supported by French President Emmanuel Macron. Welt also names British Defense Minister Ben Wallace as a hot candidate.