Belgian Foreign Minister remains tight-lipped on potentially replacing Stoltenberg as NATO chief

7 February 2022, 01:20 PM

Sophie Wilmès, Belgium’s Foreign Minister, has refused to comment on recent media speculation about her becoming NATO’s new Secretary General, Belgian news outlet rtvf reported on Feb. 6.

While talking to the press after returning from a trip to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, Wilmès declined to respond to questions regarding her rumored appointment as the new Secretary General of NATO.

Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, the current secretary general, will be stepping down later this year, with the Norwegian government announcing that he will take the position of central bank governor on Dec. 1.

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Wilmès, who if chosen would be the first woman to lead the alliance, is fluent in both of NATO’s official languages – English and French – and currently represents Belgium in matters of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy.

On Feb. 4, German news agency dpa reported that former British PM Theresa May is on the shortlist to replace Stoltenberg.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte, Estonia’s PM Kaja Kallas, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and EU’s former High Representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini are also being considered for the job.

In July, 2021, Politico reported that NATO’s new chief could be a woman. Citing their sources, Politico said that former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar‑Kitarović, former Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė and former Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid were all in the running.

Stoltenberg was appointed as the head of Norway’s central bank on Feb. 4. After serving as NATO’s Secretary General for eight years, he will start in his new six-year-long posting this December.

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