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EU cracks appear as ‘Olaf Scholz prevented Ursula Von der Leyen from NATO’s top job bid’ | World | News


EU cracks appear as 'Olaf Scholz prevented Ursula Von der Leyen from NATO’s top job bid' | World | News

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extreme hd iptv

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly opposed the idea of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen being appointed to the top post at NATO.

Mr Scholz, who much like his predecessor Angela Merkel has been criticised for his cautious approach to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and his diplomacy with the Kremlin, told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken he was “categorically against” Ms Von der Leyen becoming the next Secretary-General of the Western military alliance, according to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Citing officials in Brussels and European diplomats, the news outlet also claimed Mr Scholz thinks Ms Von der Leyen had been too critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, something that could “prove to be a disadvantage in the long term”.

It had been Mr Blinken to suggest the possibility for the incumbent European Commission President to become the next leader of NATO, the German report added, and US President Joe Biden wanted to hear Mr Scholz’s opinion on the matter.

Talks of Ms Von der Leyen’s possibly replacing Jens Stoltenberg as the secretary-general of NATO came just months before he is due to step down from the role in October.

Ms Von der Leyen, the former Defence Ministry of Germany, is only one of the high-profile politicians to have been named as possible candidates to replace Mr Stoltenberg.

The name of outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also been floated, Welt am Sonntag wrote.

Mr Rutte, whose government has taken on a caretaker role since last summer while Dutch election winner Geert Wilders tries to form a coalition, has reportedly become a top contender for the NATO role after Mr Scholz’s veto on Ms Von der Leyen.

Former UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is also being discussed in NATO circles as a potential candidate, as is Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Reports of Mr Scholz’s opposition to the European Commission President replacing Mr Stoltenberg comes after Ms Von der Leyen lashed out at Putin in the wake of the death of his main political opponent, Alexei Navalny.

On February 16, the day Mr Navalny died, she said: “Putin fears nothing more than dissent from his own people. The world has lost a freedom fighter in Alexei Navalny. We will honour his name. And in his name we will stand up for democracy and our values.”

Two days later, the European Commission President held talks over the phone with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also focused on the “importance of providing continuing support to the Ukrainian people”.

As the second anniversary of Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine approaches, Ms Von der Leyen also attended the Munich Security Conference on the weekend, where European leaders discussed the increasing fears Russia may soon target another country in the continent.

While Ms Von der Leyen may not be selected for the top job at NATO, she was selected by her German party – the CDU – on February 19 to seek reelection as European Commission President.

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