Jens Stoltenberg told Aftenposten interviewers Trine Eilertsen and Harald Stanghelle that he had enjoyed boozy evenings with the German chancellor “many times”.
“She drinks white wine, and I drink beer,” he said. “I am very impressed by her stamina. We had a very good evening in Stralsund [a German coastal town where Merkel hosted a summit in 2012]. ”
Stoltenberg said that the two leaders had developed their strong personal chemistry during negotiations over climate change, particularly “those long nights in Copenhagen in 2009”.
“That gives you a kind of chemistry, a kind of closeness,” he said. “Obama is also someone I have met many times. I think it was those two who supported me as a candidate for [Nato] General Secretary.”
Stoltenberg said that both Merkel and himself had been elected as their countries’ leaders in 2005, bringing him an additional link to the longstanding German chancellor.
He dismissed the public perception of political leaders as primarily cold, Machiavellian careerists.
“Political leaders are mainly sociable, nice people, otherwise they wouldn’t have been elected,” he said. “It’s easy to make friends.”