Romania begins the all-out offensive to support Iohannis at NATO | ANALYZE

Diplomacy and politicians from the Coalition, including Klaus Iohannis, are starting the external offensive to get the support for the President of Romania at the head of NATO, a position for which specialists credit him with chances, despite the obstacle Mark Rutte.

Mark Rutte and Klaus Iohannis are competing for the headship of NATO PHOTO Inquam Photos

Three weeks passed between the first solid information on sources regarding Klaus Iohannis' intention to enter the competition for the post of NATO Secretary General and the official announcement made by the first man in the state: “We are in a security context where I believe it is time for our country to assume even greater responsibility within the Euro-Atlantic leadership structures. It is a legitimate aspiration of a state that has seen radical transformations in the last two decades and that could use this experience to shape a new vision of how we can respond quickly and effectively to a varied and complex range of challenges and threats. (…) For all these reasons, I decided to enter the competition for the position of Secretary General of NATO“, stated Klaus Iohannis, in a press statement.

With the decalogue prepared

Shortly after the head of state's announcement, an opinion editorial by Klaus Iohannis appeared in Politico, an international publication, where he presented his “decalogue” on how he would see NATO, from the position of Secretary General. And among the things assumed are the strengthening of the Alliance's defense and deterrence capacity, the continuation of supporting Ukraine “as long as it takes”, the development of the arms industry at NATO level or the strengthening of the Alliance's dialogue with the EU.

Although the favorite according to rumors is Mark Rutte, the resigned prime minister of the Netherlands, the candidate enjoys the announced support of countries such as the United States, Great Britain or France, but he has not officially announced his candidacy. So much less an “election programme”. Although in the western press Rutte is seen as supported by 22 countries, to be secretary general unanimity is required, and Hungary opposes it on its face, Turkey is reluctant and wants to submit a list of claims it has, while in other states in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Latvia or Estonia, are still reserves.

PNL, fully with Iohannis, PSD wavers

The liberals immediately lined up behind Klaus Iohannis. Just a few minutes after the announcement, Nicolae Ciucă appeared in a press conference and expressed his support for Iohannis. And the spokesperson of the party, deputy Ionuț Stroe, made several public interventions, highlighting the fact that entering the competition is a serious step and that there is “a sphere of support at the level of the member states” for the president of Romania. Moreover, for the moment, the efforts of the liberal area are concentrated on the NATO area, with a lobby at the political level, being reduced for the moment in terms of European functions, PNL sources claim.

The Social Democrats were more reserved for the moment, without a too pronounced exit with support for Iohannis. “We must support any Romanian for a position. (…) If he entered the race, he has a chance. And even if he loses it, it is good that Romania asserts its will to have an important position“, said Vasile Dîncu, president of the PSD National Council and former Minister of Defense, in a statement from Parliament. And MEP Victor Negrescu specified that there are arguments for obtaining the position, but without detailing what the chances are.It is very good to have Romanians in important positions at the international and European level. The position of Secretary General of NATO is important and Romania has arguments to obtain this position. Furthermore, his team knows exactly the chances it has. Personally, I want Romania to be as well represented as possible at the international level”Negrescu declared for “Adevărul”.

Instead, AUR stated that Iohannis' “self-proposition” makes Romania a laughingstock, and USR, through the voice of the formation's spokesperson, Ionuț Moșteanu, credited him with “zero chances”.

What the specialists say

“Adevărul” spoke with several specialists regarding Iohannis' announcement and the chances of getting it. First of all, Adrian Cioroianu, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, claims that the announcement was based on a clear analysis: “I think there were also consultations with some of our partners, based on a known reality: no candidate or candidate for candidacy has unanimity. The NATO Secretary General is determined by consensus. I believe that a correct calculation was made, given that Prime Minister Rutte, despite his qualities, may not obtain unanimity. For now, the clearest candidacy is that of Iohannis. I have not seen Rutte do anything similar. We only talked about his person“, stated Cioroianu. Moreover, the former leader of diplomacy also had a nuance: “There are important NATO countries that spoke of his support (no – of Mark Rutte), but they gave him support when it was only about his candidacy“, added Cioroianu, who emphasized that he should not “to rule out that others can also reevaluate“.

For his part, Iulian Fota, former secretary of state in the MFA and former head of the Romanian Diplomatic Institute, stated that at the moment at the international level it is also an area of ​​”grey” information, given that Mark Rutte officially does not announced his candidacy, while some states expressed their preference for him. “Unlike Rutte, President Klaus Iohannis has clarified things regarding him. He has an agenda, we know what he wants. This shows us that the process is ongoing and nothing is settled. Many things will remain in the gray area until a winner emerges. And consensus is needed (no – unanimity)”.

Political scientist Cristian Pîrvulescu is optimistic about Iohannis' approach. “I expect that President Iohannis will receive support from everyone, until now there was no official candidacy, it was a notification”, pointed out the university professor. “It will ultimately matter what the Americans want, but President Iohannis does not start such an action if he has no chance. President Iohannis is not the type of politician who does not calculate and does not take unnecessary risks. So that means he has a real chance at this point to get that job“, added the political scientist, criticizing political opponents, such as AUR, who ridiculed the candidacy.

Diplomats and politicians will heat up the phones

According to specialists, even more sustained work will begin to negotiate the position. “We will work together. Such things are not limited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am convinced that the president has his agenda, he has experience, he is known. He is one of the veteran leaders. It will be a somewhat broader effort, from embassies to ministers, but especially by the presidentAdrian Cioroianu emphasized. “Every possible diplomatic and political effort is needed. Efforts should not be left to the MFA alone. Efforts must be at governmental, parliamentary, personal contacts. Romania's candidacy is after all. Any important or relevant link should be used to increase the chances of jobse”, pointed out Iulian Fota, for his part.

Even Cristian Pîrvulescu claims that the approach will be a common one, being a goal of Romania from this moment: “I believe that all Romanian institutions must support such an approach and I hope they will. (…) Such a position only strengthens Romania's image in the world, given that we know very well how difficult this transition has started. It would be an important moment for Romania“.

Holland, favored over time

The Netherlands has had three other general secretaries over time, namely Dirk Stikker (1961-1964), Joseph Luns (1971-1974) and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (2004-2009). Only Great Britain has had three secretaries general since the founding of NATO, while in the countries behind the Iron Curtain, which experienced communism and the presence of Soviet occupation troops, they have not had any number one position from 1949 to the present. So, if the post of NATO head eventually goes to Rutte, the Netherlands would become the first country to have had four secretaries general, since its establishment until now. In the international press, from Bloomberg, Politico to Reuters, Western publications point out that there is great pressure from Central and Eastern Europe for a representative, but, just like the case of the future Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Commission, the most suitable man is wanted.