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Frederiksen in Focus – Will You Take Over NATO?

By: Martin Mederyd Hårdh / TT

Speculation is mounting that Mette Frederiksen could become the next Secretary General of NATO.

When the Danish prime minister visited the White House this week, she said openly that she wasn’t looking for the job, but that didn’t stop the conversation.

– I said before that I am not a candidate for any job other than the one I currently have, and this has not changed after my meeting with the President of the United States, as the Danish Prime Minister said after his meeting with Joe Biden on Monday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will leave office this fall. The Norwegian has repeatedly said that this plan is firm.

No clear successor has emerged among the many names that have surfaced in the speculation. In April, Norway’s VG newspaper said it had heard from “the highest diplomatic level” that Mette Frederiksen was running for the job.

This week the same international media asked if the Dane’s visit to Washington, D.C., was actually some kind of job interview.

I look forward

The information caused a sensation in Denmark, even within Frederiksen’s own party. The head of the region within the SPD has started talking openly about who they want to see succeed her as prime minister and party leader, Radio Denmark reports.

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Leif Luxhøj-Pedersen, head of the Lyngby-Taarbæk region, thinks Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen is a natural choice.

– He is, after all, the Minister of Finance and has been part of the inner circle for many years. As told by Dr.

Broad government cooperation with Venstre and the moderates will also be moot, according to Truls Lund Poulsen (Venstre), acting defense minister in Venstre leader Jacob Elliman Jensen’s absence due to illness. He asserts that cooperation is certainly working well today.

– But obviously you will have to sit down and in case the prime minister is no longer prime minister, someone else will probably come, he told Danish TV2.

Other leaders praised her

In the Danish media, the matter is followed closely. Residents see what works for Frederiksen – she’s a proven prime minister as well as a woman – and what works against her. As for the latter, the alliance already had one Danish general and now two Scandinavian ones in succession.

At the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo last week, several heads of state and ministers were asked Danish questions about Frederiksen’s suitability. Most of them said they didn’t want to join the rumor mill.

– Otherwise, I could spend some time talking well about Mette Frederiksen. She is one of the most talented prime ministers in Europe, one of the people I know very well and have close contact, and I have nothing but good things to say about her,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gare Storr during a press conference. With Jens Stoltenberg more conservative.

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At a major summit in Moldova, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo was asked similar questions. He said he had a “very, very good” working relationship with Mette Frederiksen and that he hoped it would continue “no matter what role she’s in”.

– These questions are difficult to answer because they are hypothetical. But – I think she has the qualities required for this kind of position, if she has the ambition to fill it.

A direct question without an answer

Danmarks Radio notes how Frederiksen expresses herself and wonders why she didn’t just mention that she would say no to the job if it was offered to her.

“I am not a candidate for other duties,” replies Frederiksen, who says he is content to be Denmark’s prime minister.

But it does not give a direct answer to the question.