NATO member-states appointed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the Western military alliance’s new General Secretary in the place of outgoing Jens Stoltenberg.

The appointment of Rutte was considered a formality since his only opponent, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, announced last week that he was withdrawing from the race, having failed to gather the necessary support.

The outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described his successor as an ardent supporter of transatlantic cooperation, a strong leader, and a consensus builder.

After his appointment, the Dutch PM took to Twitter to express his gratitude: “It is a tremendous honour to be appointed Secretary-General of NATO. The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our collective security. Leading this organisation is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I’m grateful to all the Allies for placing their trust in me. I look forward to taking up the position with great vigour in October, as successor to
, who has provided NATO with outstanding leadership for the past 10 years, and for whom I have always had great admiration.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Rutte on his new role on Twitter: “Congratulations, dear Mark Rutte, on being elected as the new
Secretary General.
Your leadership and experience will be crucial for the Alliance during these challenging times.
I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the EU-NATO partnership.”