NATO Approves Dutch Leader Rutte to Succeed Stoltenberg

(Bloomberg) -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will become NATO’s next secretary general, succeeding Jens Stoltenberg who steps down later this year, the military alliance said in a statement.

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All 32 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies agreed that Rutte, 57, will take over from Stoltenberg on Oct. 1 when his term ends, according to the statement. Stoltenberg led the NATO alliance for a decade.

“I know I am leaving NATO in good hands,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

Rutte’s path was cleared when Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew last week as the only other candidate still in the running.

Romania, Hungary and Slovakia had been the last three countries holding out their support for Rutte, who received early backing from a majority of allies, including the US, France and Germany. The three countries ultimately endorsed the Dutch leader in recent days.

EU leaders quickly congratulated Rutte on his appointment.

“I am confident you will continue @jensstoltenberg’s outstanding work in keeping NATO strong and united, as we work to strengthen our collective defence and support Ukraine’s fight for freedom,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a post on X.

(Updates with reaction from Sunak in final paragraph. An earlier version corrected a reference to NATO in the headline)

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