NATO Secretary General designate appointed

stoltenbergOn 28 March, the North Atlantic Council decided to appoint Jens Stoltenberg as Secretary General of NATO and Chairman of the North Atlantic Council, in succession to Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as Secretary General as from 1 October 2014, when Fogh Rasmussen’s term expires after five years and two months at the helm of the Alliance.

NATO Secretary General designate

Jens Stoltenberg was born in Oslo on 16 March 1959. He spent his childhood years abroad, with his diplomat father, mother and two sisters.

Stoltenberg holds a postgraduate degree in Economics from the University of Oslo. After graduating in 1987, he started work in Statistics Norway.

In 1990 he was called by Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland to serve as state secretary for the environment. In 1993 he was elected Member of Parliament for Oslo, and was also appointed minister of trade and energy. He served as minister of finance from 1996 to 1997.

Stoltenberg was appointed prime minister for the first time in 2000, at the age of 40. He stepped down after the election the following year and was leader of the opposition until 2005, when he once again became prime minister, this time for a coalition government, a position he held until October 2013. He is currently leader of the Norwegian Labour Party as well as the party’s parliamentary leader.

Stoltenberg has had a number of international assignments. These include chairing the UN High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence and the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. He is currently UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.

While Stoltenberg was prime minister, Norway’s defence spending increased steadily, with the result that Norway is today one of the Allies with the highest per capita defence expenditure. Stoltenberg has also been instrumental in transforming the Norwegian armed forces, through a strong focus on deployable high-end capabilities. Under his leadership, the Norwegian Government has contributed Norwegian forces to various NATO operations.

During his tenure as prime minister, Stoltenberg frequently called for NATO to focus on security challenges close to Allied territory.

Stoltenberg is a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic cooperation, including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. He sees NATO and the EU as complementary organisations in terms of securing peace and development in Europe and beyond.

Stoltenberg is married to Ingrid Schulerud. Together they have two grown-up children.

Commenting on the appointment of the next Secretary General of NATO, ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson said: “On behalf of European Liberals I would like to pay tribute to outgoing Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who over the course of the last five years has proven himself to be an able and capable Secretary General of NATO.

“As we saw while he served as the prime minister of Denmark, his record of achievement is considerable. In the past five years he has successfully overseen the full integration of nine new member states into NATO, and he has overseen successful NATO-led operations such as the one in Libya in 2011. He has also proven himself to be a good mediator in today’s uncharted global waters of cyber threats and terrorism. I would like to wish him every success in future endeavours.

“I have no doubt Jens Stoltenberg will prove a hard working successor and I wish him well in his tenure of office.”

Fogh Rasmussen, a former prime minister of Denmark from November 2001 to April 2009 and leader of ALDE Party member party Venstre, took up his duties at NATO on 1 August 2009. In December 2013 his mandate was extended until 30 September 2014 after gaining approval from the North Atlantic Council.

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