NATO allies have extended Jens Stoltenberg’s term as chief of the Western alliance until September 30th, 2020. “Allies congratulate the secretary-general and have full confidence in his ability to continue his dedicated work to advance NATO’s adaptation to the security challenges of the 21st century” was said in a NATO announcement. Stoltenberg, who took office on October 1st 2014, will now step down two years later than planned, after strong support from Germany and the United States, which have welcomed his efforts to increase defence spending in Europe.
During his mandate, Stoltenberg has also had a more conciliatory tone towards Moscow than his Danish predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “I believe in dialogue with Russia but I am also here to ensure security in Europe” he said. “It’s an expression of trust which gives me a strong mandate and that is important because times are challenging, I was a bit surprised, because my understanding was that it was out of the question to be secretary-general for more than five years, and this is the first time since the end of the Cold War,” he added.
The Secretary General is the Alliance’s top international civil servant. He has three main responsibilities. Firstly, he is the Chairman of the North Atlantic Council and other key bodies, and he has the authority to propose items for discussion and use his good offices in case of disputes between Member States. Secondly, the Secretary General is also the principal spokesman of the Alliance and represents the Alliance in public on behalf of the member countries, reflecting their common positions on political issues. Finally, the Secretary General is the senior executive officer of the NATO International Staff, responsible for making staff appointments and overseeing its work.
Maria Elena Argano
For further information:
NATO’s website: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_149936.htm
NATO’s website: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_50094.htm