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The way has been cleared for NATO's new boss after difficult negotiations.

Mark Rutte, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, will become the new Secretary General of NATO. With this appointment, Rutte follows in the footsteps of, among others, Joseph Luns, who held this position from 1971 to 1984. Rutte becomes the fourth Dutchman in this prestigious position, after a difficult process in which several countries initially opposed his candidacy.

The road to Rutte's appointment was anything but easy. Although 32 allies now unanimously support the Dutch politician, there was initial resistance from Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. These countries blocked Rutte's candidacy for various reasons, ranging from political considerations to internal policy issues. However, the diplomatic efforts of the Netherlands and its allies have paid off. This week, countries ceased their resistance one by one, with Romania being the last.

Romanian President Klaus Johannis formally announced today that he would withdraw as an opposing candidate. “We have decided to support the candidacy of Mark Rutte. His experience and leadership are of great value to NATO in these challenging times,” said Johannis. This support clears the way for Rutte to take over the leadership of NATO.

However, Rutte will not immediately take up his new role. The current secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, will officially complete his term until October, although there is a possibility that Rutte will take office earlier. The exact date of the transition remains unclear, but insiders speculate that it could happen as early as September.

The term of a Secretary General at NATO lasts four years and can be extended if necessary. Rutte brings a wealth of experience from his time as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, a position he has held since 2010. His leadership was characterized by economic reforms, international diplomacy and a strongly pro-European stance.

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Mark Rutte

Rutte's appointment comes at a crucial time for NATO. The organization faces several challenges, including ongoing tensions with Russia and the need to strengthen member states' defense capabilities. Rutte has already indicated that he wants to focus on strengthening transatlantic ties and improving cooperation between member states.

“I am honored by the trust that NATO member states have placed in me. We face major challenges, but I am determined to work with our allies to guarantee the security and stability of our alliance," Rutte said in an initial response.

Analysts expect Rutte's appointment to be positively received within NATO. His proven ability to build consensus and his experience in international relations are seen as important qualities for this role. Moreover, his appointment is seen as a sign of the growing influence of the Netherlands within the international community.

The coming months will be crucial for Rutte to prepare for his new role. He will have to delve into the complex security issues that dominate NATO and position himself as a leader capable of uniting the diverse interests of member states. His appointment marks a new chapter in NATO's history, in which Rutte's leadership will play a decisive role.

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