July 17, 2020 / 8:28 AM / 20 days ago

Springsteen and Stoltenberg: NATO secretary-general picks top tracks

LONDON (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and his own daughter: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gave an insight into his favourite songs with an appearance on British radio show Desert Island Discs on Friday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 26, 2020. Virginia Mayo/Pool via REUTERS

Guests on the BBC Radio 4 show discuss their life and choose eight tracks, a book and a luxury item they would take with them if they were abandoned on a desert island.

The former Norway Prime Minister’s choices included “So Long Marianne” by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and “Hungry Heart” by American rocker Bruce Springsteen.

He also chose “No Harm”, a song by Norwegian electronic music duo Smerz, which he admitted “is a bit different to the music I used to listen to in the 1970s” but was special to him - because his daughter Catharina is one half of the band.

His father was also a diplomat who believed in “kitchen table diplomacy” and would have freedom fighters around for breakfast, including anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.

Stoltenberg would grow up to work with Mandela on the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), inspiring another choice - “Free Nelson Mandela” by British ska band the Special A.K.A.

Stoltenberg also opened up about struggling to read until he was ten, the death of his sister and losing friends in the 2011 Norway attacks.

An former anti-war activist who opposed Norway’s membership of NATO, Stoltenberg now runs the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump, who previously threatened to withdraw from the alliance, to stand with other members.

“My message to President Trump, as my message is to all the NATO allies, is that North American and Europe has to stand together, especially when we see the rise of China which is actually shifting the global balance of power,” he said.

“Of course NATO is good for Europe, but it’s also good for the United States. Peace, stability in Europe adds also to the security of North America and the United States.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout. Editing by Andrew MacAskill/Guy Faulconbridge

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