Mark Rutte Set to Become NATO Chief After Key Deal with Hungary’s Orban Set to Become NATO Chief After Key Deal with Hungary’s Orban
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

In a significant geopolitical maneuver, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is poised to take on the role of NATO Secretary General, succeeding Jens Stoltenberg. This development comes after a crucial agreement with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, ensuring Hungary’s support by promising that Hungarian forces and funds will not be deployed in Ukraine.

Rutte’s Path to NATO Leadership

Mark Rutte, the longest-serving prime minister in Dutch history, secured Hungary’s backing by addressing Orban’s concerns through a letter dated June 18. In it, Rutte committed to upholding the agreement reached between Orban and Stoltenberg, which stipulated that Hungary would not be compelled to contribute troops or financial resources to NATO’s efforts in Ukraine.

A Show of Unity Before the Summit

The removal of Hungary’s veto paves the way for a unified front as NATO prepares for its 75th-anniversary summit in Washington from July 9-11. This show of solidarity is crucial as the alliance faces ongoing challenges, including the conflict in Ukraine.

Background and Negotiations

The breakthrough followed intense negotiations in Budapest last week, where Stoltenberg brokered a deal with Orban. This deal was contingent on Rutte’s assurance, which he subsequently provided. NATO’s consensus-based decision-making process means any member, including Hungary, can effectively veto decisions, making such assurances vital for Rutte’s candidacy.

Social Media Confirmation

Taking to social media platform X, Orban confirmed Hungary’s support: “PM Mark Rutte confirmed that he fully supports this deal and will continue to do so, should he become the next Secretary General of NATO. In light of his pledge, Hungary is ready to support PM Rutte’s bid for NATO Secretary-General.”

Addressing Past Remarks

Budapest’s support also hinged on resolving discontent over Rutte’s past comments about the Hungarian government. Rutte acknowledged these grievances in his letter, emphasizing his commitment to maintaining unity and treating all NATO Allies with respect.

The Preferred Candidate

Rutte is favored by major NATO allies, including the United States and Germany. His experience and diplomatic skills position him as a strong candidate to guide NATO through its current challenges. However, the candidature of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis remains a final hurdle, though it is not expected to significantly impact Rutte’s path to the role.

Biden’s Support

Jens Stoltenberg’s steady leadership has been instrumental over the past decade, with his term extended multiple times due to a lack of consensus on a successor. President Joe Biden, acknowledging Stoltenberg’s contributions, humorously remarked during a meeting at the White House: “I mean it sincerely, you’ve been great. I just wish you’d extend your term another 10 years.”


Mark Rutte’s anticipated appointment as NATO Secretary General marks a pivotal moment for the alliance. By addressing Hungary’s concerns and securing broad support, Rutte is set to lead NATO into its next chapter, emphasizing unity and strategic stability amidst global tensions.

Inside This Issue

  • Economic Impact: How NATO’s new leadership might influence defense spending.
  • Opinion: The significance of Rutte’s diplomatic approach for NATO’s future.
  • Feature: A look back at Jens Stoltenberg’s decade-long tenure as NATO Secretary General.
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