NATO countries have reached agreement that former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will be the Western military alliance’s next Secretary-General.
According to NATO website: “ΝΑΤΟ decided to appoint Jens Stoltenberg as Secretary General, in succession to Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Mr. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as Secretary General as from 1 October 2014, when Mr. Fogh Rasmussen’s term expires after 5 years and 2 months at the helm of the Alliance.”
Who is Jens Stoltenberg?
Jens Stoltenberg was born in Oslo on 16 March 1959. He spent his childhood years abroad, with his diplomat father, mother and two sisters.
Mr 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.
Jens 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.
Mr 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 Mr 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. Mr 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, Mr Stoltenberg frequently called for NATO to focus on security challenges close to Allied territory.
Mr 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.
Mr Stoltenberg is married to Ingrid Schulerud. Together they have two grown-up children.