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

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series