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Biden to host outgoing NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg as competition to replace him heats up

by Ethan Kim
7 comments
NATO succession

President Joe Biden will be hosting outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House on Monday for discussions as the race to find Stoltenberg’s successor intensifies. Stoltenberg, who has led NATO since 2014 and had his tenure extended three times, announced earlier this year that he would step down when his current term ends in September. With the annual NATO summit approaching in Vilnius, Lithuania, next month, the competition to replace him is heating up.

The search for the next NATO secretary-general has seen British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak advocating for U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace directly to President Biden. The U.S. president has also met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, another potential candidate for the position. When asked about the NATO job during a press conference with Sunak, Biden acknowledged Wallace’s qualifications but emphasized the ongoing discussions among NATO leaders to reach a consensus on the successor. Biden’s opinion carries significant weight as the United States is the largest spender on defense within the alliance.

Following her meeting with Biden, Frederiksen downplayed her candidacy and refrained from discussing the upcoming vacancy, stating her reluctance to engage in speculative conversations about NATO. Notably, NATO has never had a female secretary-general.

As for Denmark, the country has fallen short of NATO’s target for members to allocate 2% of their gross domestic product to military budgets by 2030. However, the centrist Danish government recently announced plans to invest approximately 143 billion kroner ($20.6 billion) in defense over the next ten years, citing a “serious threat picture.”

In addition to discussing the succession process, Biden and Stoltenberg are expected to address Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and efforts to persuade Turkey, a fellow NATO member, to stop blocking Sweden’s accession to the alliance. Both Sweden and Finland, historically unaligned militarily, sought NATO membership jointly after being unsettled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Initially, Turkey opposed the inclusion of both countries, but later agreed to Finland’s membership while maintaining its objection to Sweden.

Publicly expressing confidence, Biden has assured that Sweden’s membership in NATO will soon become a reality. Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken share the hope that Sweden will join the NATO fold before the allied leaders convene in Lithuania on July 11-12.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about NATO succession

Who is hosting the outgoing NATO Secretary-General at the White House?

President Joe Biden is hosting the outgoing NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the White House.

When will the current NATO Secretary-General’s tenure end?

Jens Stoltenberg’s current tenure as NATO Secretary-General will end at the end of September.

What is the purpose of the meeting between President Biden and Jens Stoltenberg?

The meeting between President Biden and Jens Stoltenberg is to discuss the competition to find Stoltenberg’s successor to lead the NATO military alliance.

Which leaders have been potential contenders for the NATO Secretary-General position?

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has advocated for UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has also been considered a potential contender.

Is there a consensus on who will replace Jens Stoltenberg as the NATO Secretary-General?

No, there is currently no consensus among NATO leaders regarding the successor for Jens Stoltenberg. The discussions to find a consensus pick are still ongoing.

What is the importance of President Biden’s opinion in the selection process?

President Biden’s opinion carries significant weight as the United States spends more on defense than any other member of the NATO alliance.

Has NATO ever had a female Secretary-General?

No, NATO has never had a female Secretary-General.

What is Denmark’s defense spending situation?

Denmark has fallen behind NATO’s target for members to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on military budgets by 2030. However, the Danish government has announced plans to invest a significant amount in defense over the next decade.

What will be discussed regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

President Biden and Jens Stoltenberg are expected to discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and efforts to persuade Turkey, a NATO member, to stop blocking Sweden’s membership in the alliance.

When will the NATO summit take place?

The NATO summit is scheduled to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12.

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7 comments

Jane_Doe June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

Wow, Biden is hosting Stoltenberg to talk about the NATO job. The race to find a new leader is getting intense!

Reply
JohnSmith47 June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

It’s gonna be interesting to see who takes over from Stoltenberg. Biden’s opinion really matters since the US spends a lot on defense in NATO.

Reply
LilyRose June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

I heard Denmark wants to invest big bucks in defense. But they still haven’t met NATO’s spending target. Will it affect their chances of getting the job?

Reply
Tom1982 June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

Biden seems confident that Sweden will join NATO soon. Let’s see if he’s right! Would be a big move.

Reply
Emily19 June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

It’s about time we have a female NATO secretary-general! Frederiksen met with Biden, but she’s playing it cool about the speculation.

Reply
Mike87 June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

The NATO summit is coming up, and the pressure is on to find a successor for Stoltenberg. Exciting times ahead!

Reply
SarahLovesNews June 12, 2023 - 7:29 am

Turkey needs to stop blocking Sweden from joining NATO. The situation with Russia and Ukraine is serious, and unity is important right now.

Reply

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