Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

My earlier diary ...

Rutte Looks for Exit from Dutch Politics | July 6, 2023 |

BREAKING NEWS: PM Mark Rutte ends his political career, will not lead the VVD into the forced general election. [Update: 10 July 10AM]

The one man lobbyist for Royal Shell, Unilever, DSM, ASML and multinationals in pharmacy, petrochemicals with shareholders evading taxation on dividends.

Mark failed to impress NATO member states in the campaign for SG as Joe personally appeared to have picked a girl ... ehh female, breaking glass ceiling and all that to prevent any discussion on the wisdom of a proxy war with Russia across the Ukraine.

Poland may have blocked Ursula as next NATO head ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 at 10:02:12 PM EST
Overview by Politico:

NATO mulls another succession solution: Pairing with EU top jobs race

Jens Stoltenberg can't leave just yet -- the EU may need him around until it reshuffles its own leaders in Brussels.

That's the dawning sentiment among NATO allies as the military alliance's chief nears the end of his term and countries fail to rally around a consensus successor.

The NATO leader's near decade-long tenure, which has been repeatedly extended, is set to expire this fall. But NATO allies are now gaming out the possibility of prolonging his term yet again until the alliance's summit in Washington next year, according to diplomats.

The move would, of course, give leaders more time to locate a successor. But it would also push the decision into an EU election year, allowing it to become part of the political jostling over who will run the EU's main institutions for the next five years.

Like the top NATO job, the EU positions require a geopolitical balancing act. And having four positions to hand out instead of one may help ease those negotiations, allowing countries to back a candidate at NATO, for instance, in exchange for getting their preferred candidate installed atop the European Commission.

It's not a solution everyone loves.

Asked if European allies would accept the NATO race becoming part of the EU's top jobs competition, a senior diplomat from Central Europe said: "I am sure for some of us definitely not." But, the diplomat added, "for others, yes."

NATO and the EU: Together at last   [bloody hell!]

Some allies don't mind making these decisions in the same timeframe, but others cautioned against mixing the two worlds.

"We need the most suitable candidate, who can unite [the] transatlantic community, but not setting artificial barriers," a senior diplomat from Eastern Europe said. The diplomat underscored that they are "not against" a candidate from the EU. "But why linking? What is the rationale of that?"

The senior Western European diplomat also conceded that they have heard concerns that an extension could "further the complexity" of the situation and make NATO look like "a consolation prize."

Stoltenberg, for his part, has repeatedly insisted he doesn't want to stay on, to the point where repeated questions about his future at every press appearance and carefully rehearsed, formulaic answers have taken on a comical quality.

Yet as secretary-general since 2014, the NATO chief has gotten extension after extension.


"I am not a candidate ..." and  "I am not on my way to NATO.  "

Plus, with war raging on the Continent, the job has become far from sensitive -- the next secretary-general needs to be someone acceptable to hawks but who big capitals see as sufficiently cool-headed.

Very few leaders meet the criteria. And a few names who could win broad support -- such as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte -- have said they are not interested.

As a result, the notion of a Stoltenberg extension is now creeping into officials' public comments.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 at 10:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked the Dutch government for its continuing support to NATO operations in talks with Dutch Prime Minister | NATO - Nov. 14, 2014 |

I would like to underline that The Netherlands has been for many, many years a valuable and very reliable ally within the Alliance. And I would like to take this opportunity to commend you for your contributions in so many parts of the work we are doing together within the Alliance: contributing troops to our mission in Afghanistan and in Kosovo, fighter jets over the Baltic states.

And actually I went from Brussels to Estonia, and I was escorted by two F-16s, Dutch F-16s, extremely close, but let's just say it was safe. At least they told me so.

And I also seen the Dutch patriot batteries in Turkey augmenting the air defence of Turkey. And as you said, The Netherlands is also offering troops to the spearhead force which we are going to establish in NATO.

So we are really grateful for your solidarity and your efforts to improve defence capabilities by cooperating with other allies, and we all gain from this.

Our meeting and our lunch today was very constructive. We addressed a wide range of issues, but we focused on the security challenges we face in the east and to the south.

To the east, Russia continues to destabilize Ukraine. And we call on Russia to pull back all its forces from eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk agreements.

To the south, ISIL terrorists are carrying out horrific attacks and threatening to export the terror beyond the Middle East. We have to be ready to respond to these challenges. That is why we, at our summit in Wales in September, agreed on a readiness action plan.

Related reading ...

Of Arms, Funding and "Non-lethal Assistance"--Issues Surrounding Third-State Intervention in the Syrian Civil War | March 2014 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 at 10:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series