Brussels: The possible candidates for the post of NATO Secretary-General might be three female politicians from Eastern Europe, Politico reported on Monday, citing sources inside the alliance.
The incumbent NATO chief, former Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, has occupied the post since October 2014. His term expires in September 2022.
Formal discussions on the replacement candidates have already begun at NATO headquarters in Brussels, according to the report. But the new successor is not expected to be introduced any sooner than next year — at a top-level NATO summit in Madrid either in late spring or early summer.
Some diplomats and officials in Brussels reportedly believe that 72 years into its existence, it is the time for NATO to make a woman its head. There is also an opinion that selecting the candidate from Eastern Europe will send “an important signal” to Russia in the midst of strained relations, the news outlet said.
The report concludes that there are three Eastern European politicians who meet both criteria — Ex-President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Ex-President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, and incumbent President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid.
The current NATO Secretary-General was preceded by former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and before Rasmussen, the post was occupied by former Dutch Foreign Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.