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July 16
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Mark Rutte will become NATO's next secretary general after all 32 members of the alliance agreed that the departing Dutch prime minister will succeed Jens Stoltenberg, Politico writes.

After endorsements from Hungary and Slovakia on Tuesday, Romania confirmed its support for Rutte on Thursday, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew his nomination for NATO's top post. Iohannis said during a meeting of the Supreme National Defense Council that he had notified NATO allies that he had withdrawn his candidacy.

Rutte will assume his new powers on Oct. 2, just over a month before the U.S. elections that will determine the fate of the military alliance.

Rutte's path to the post of NATO secretary general has been a long one. He has been campaigning since last November. Rutte has been criticized for not doing enough to mobilize support from Eastern European countries, which questioned his support for Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline project until 2014. Rutte has also consistently failed to bring Dutch defense spending to the NATO target of 2 percent of GDP throughout his 14-year tenure as prime minister of the EU's fifth-largest economy. However, according to the latest NATO figures, the Netherlands will finally reach that target this year.

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