According to information circulating in NATO, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is reportedly considered a favorite for a new top job in the American capital, Norwegian TV 2 broadcaster reported on Wednesday
Citing ‘reliable’ sources within the US-led military bloc, the Norwegian broadcaster reported that the outgoing Secretary-General may become the new head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is currently led by the veteran Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva, whose tenure is scheduled to end in 2024.
Stoltenberg is the second longest-serving Secretary-General in NATO after his tenure was extended several times since he was appointed in 2014.
Although he was set to leave NATO in September, Stoltenberg’s term was extended until September 30, 2023, amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and might even end up extended even beyond 2023 – potentially for another year -with no successor for the post in clear sight.
It’s also worth noting that Stoltenberg enjoys great respect in the alliance for how he has managed to keep NATO together after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Several candidates are now being mentioned as potential Stoltenberg’s successor, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, but the word is that NATO allegedly aims to install a woman at its helm for the first time.
Among the named contenders are Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, Estonian PM Kaja Kallas, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the former Croatian president, although the New York Times reported in early November that Washington’s favorite candidate to replace Stoltenberg was current Canada’s finance minister and deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland.
Granddaughter of Mikhail Chomiak, who published a pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic newspaper in the occupied Polish city of Krakow, Freeland is known for her strong pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian stance.
Extremely ambiguous on her controversial ancestry, Freeland has refused to condemn her maternal grandparents and even described them as political exiles.
The NYT wrote at the time that a critical factor in choosing Stoltenberg’s successor will be where any of the candidates comes down on support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.