Ursula von der Leyen in the running to be chief of NATO after EU top role | World | News


President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen is in the running to be the next head of NATO. Although her term as president doesn’t end until 2024, there are reports some member states have suggested she could take over as early as October.

Despite reports the former German Defence Minister could take the reins of NATO, some say her appointment could outrage Eurosceptics, reports the Sun.

Current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is due to step down later this year after his tenure was extended following the start of the war in Ukraine.

There is no formal election for a new leader of NATO; instead, a new leader is elected by consensus.

Traditionally, although the USA doesn’t put up a candidate, they do have a big say in who takes the role while a US General normally serves as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.


Sources have suggested Britain could veto Ms Von der Leyen because of her poor track record with Germany’s Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, it is believed current Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is in the running to be the first British NATO Secretary General in 20 years with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak believed to be backing his bid.

Meanwhile, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag has reported that Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is also in the running.

Alongside Mr Wallace, Estonian Prime Minster Kaja Kallas is also being tipped for the job. However, she is said to have ruled herself out as she faces the threat of Russia on Estonia’s border.

Other candidates include Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. However, a NATO source told the Sun the half-Ukrainian half-Canadian is unlikely to get the job after Canada failed to meet the alliance-wide target of spending two percent of GDP on defence.

Discussions around the next leader of NATO come as tensions in Europe remain sky-high as the war in Ukraine continues, forcing countries neighbouring Russia to reconsider their foreign policy.

Finland, which shares an 832-mile border with Russia, could be formally welcomed into NATO “within days” according to Jens Stoltenberg. The announcement comes after Turkey ratified the Nordic country’s accession.

On Friday, Jens Stoltenberg said: “All 30 NATO allies have now ratified the accession protocol. Finland will formally join our alliance in the coming days.” The move ends decades of Finnish neutrality over NATO.

In a statement made after the Turkish vote, the Finnish government said joining NATO would strengthen their security and improve stability in the region.

Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin tweeted: “As allies, we will give and receive security. We will defend each other. Finland stands with Sweden now and in the future and supports its application.”

Mr Stoltenberg later tweeted: “I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at NATO HQ in the coming days. Together we are stronger and safer.”

When it formally joins, Finland will become the seventh NATO country on the Baltic Sea, further isolating Russia’s coastal access to St Petersburg and Kaliningrad.

Finland’s final step towards membership will be its “instrument of accession”, a document signed by its foreign minister.