'Orbán's Revenge' - Hungary Rejects Dutch PM Rutte's Candidacy To Head NATO

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 07, 2024 - 07:00 AM

Authored by Denes Albert via ReMix News,

Rutte once said that Hungary “no longer has a place in the EU” and that he wanted to bring the country “to its knees”...

Mark Rutte and Viktor Orbán at the European Council roundtable in Brussels, June 30, 2023. (Credit: European Union/ European Council)

Hungary does not support Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s candidacy for NATO secretary-general, said Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó. Given his history of threats against Hungary, there is little surprise from analysts about Hungary’s stance.

Commenting on the possible election of Rutte as the new head of NATO, Szijjártó said that the government could certainly not support the election of someone who “wanted to bring Hungary to its knees in the past.”

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte pose for a photo after signing documents in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 1, 2024. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“It would be very strange if the Hungarian government were to support the candidacy of such a person,” he said.

Current NATO head Jens Stoltenberg’s second mandate — extended twice by one year due to the war in Ukraine — will expire in October, and most NATO member states want to have a new person in the position before the EU elections. To be elected, a candidate needs the vote of all member states.

German magazine Der Spiegel wrote in a recent opinion piece that “Rutte has strong opponents, especially in the eastern part of NATO territory, above all (Hungarian Prime Minister) Viktor Orbán.”

That is why Spiegel columnist Marlus Becker wrote that the military alliance is threatened by a nasty row over the next secretary-general. Last week, NATO’s four major member states backed Rutte in a coordinated action. According to several diplomats, Rutte has the backing of about two-thirds of the 31 NATO members, but the eastern members are resisting, according to the German magazine.

The magazine claims that the unanimous election of the new secretary-general could be a problem for “Hungary’s autocratic prime minister” Viktor Orbán, among others. However, Rutte is not innocent either, the article adds, as in 2021, Rutte said that Hungary “no longer has a place in the EU.”

Rutte also said, “We want to bring Hungary to its knees.” Now, Becker writes that Rutte has to fear “Orbán’s revenge,” and this time Orbán is not isolated. Becker argues that other states in the eastern part of NATO feel they have been deceived by the West.

Orbán has commented on Rutte’s offensive comments in the past, saying in 2020: “I don’t know what’s the personal reason for the Dutch prime minister to hate me or Hungary, but he is attacking us so harshly and making very clear that because Hungary, in his opinion, does not respect the rule of law, it must be punished financially. That’s his position. Which is not acceptable, because there is no decision about what is the rule of law situation in Hungary.”

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