TALLINN, Estonia — Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has signaled her curiosity in changing into the following secretary normal of NATO when the highest job on the Western army alliance falls vacant subsequent yr.
Kallas, who has led the small Baltic nation as its first feminine head of presidency since January 2021, was attending the Politico Defence Summit in Washington late Tuesday. When requested whether or not she wish to be thought-about for the highest submit at NATO, she replied merely, “Sure.”
Her ruling Reform Occasion made no instant remark Wednesday, however a spokesperson famous that Kallas can be searching for one other time period because the chair of the center-right political celebration at its congress within the capital, Tallinn, on Saturday.
NATO’s present chief Jens Stoltenberg is because of step down in October 2024 after 10 years within the submit.
Kallas, a 46-year-old lawyer, has been one of the vocal European backers of Ukraine and a fierce critic of Russia inside the European Union and NATO.
Amongst different issues, she has pressed NATO to supply a extra thorough protection plan for the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — that each one border Russia.
Nonetheless, some NATO diplomats and safety coverage consultants have stated Kallas could also be too hawkish for the style of some members within the 31-member alliance.
At dwelling in Estonia, a nation of 1.3 million, her reputation peaked in the course of the spring after her Reform Occasion scored an amazing victory within the March normal election the place Ukraine emerged a significant theme.
Nonetheless, her reputation crashed in August after Estonian media studies revealed that her husband had remained a key shareholder in a transportation firm which had continued to function in Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Kallas had beforehand known as for Estonian corporations to stop operations in Russia.
She has denied realizing the small print of her husband’s enterprise actions and has refused to resign regardless of urged to take action by President Alar Karis and the overwhelming majority of Estonians as measured in current opinion polls.
Among the many different main candidates for the NATO submit, the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has indicated his curiosity.