Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is reportedly being "seriously" considered as a candidate to become NATO's next secretary general, a prospect reinforced by her recent invitation to the White House, APA reports citing Sputnik.
Incumbent NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's term is scheduled to end in late September following multiple extensions. Another extension is also a possibility if the allies fail to agree on a replacement, media reported.
Frederiksen fits several criteria NATO leaders consider important in a new chief, according to the reports. This includes being a European, a head of government, a strong supporter of Ukraine and a woman.
"I think she is a serious candidate," a western European diplomat has been quoted as saying.
A senior diplomat from Central Europe confirmed the Danish leader "is indeed considered seriously by a number of bigger allies."
Frederiksen has received an invitation to visit the White House on June 5 in what many reportedly see as Washington's impending go-ahead for the role traditionally reserved for Europeans.
There are reportedly also arguments against her, however. Some point out that NATO has already had a chief from Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who held the post from 2009-2014. Furthermore, Denmark's defense spending is still below the targeted 2% of the GDP, which diplomats fear might send a wrong signal, a Central European diplomat told media.
The latest reports come, however, after Frederiksen said in April that she did not intend to apply for the NATO leadership position.
Other possible candidates include Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.