Calls for new Nato headquarters to be named in tribute to John McCain

As world leaders clamour to pay their respects to the 81-year-old's family and friends, some are discussing a unique tribute

European political figures are calling for the new Nato headquarters in Brussels to be named after the late senator John McCain.

Former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and British MP Tom Tugendhat have both taken steps in a campaign to name the €1 billion (Dh4.3 bn) building after the American political giant.

McCain passed away on Saturday from brain cancer, triggering a flood of tributes to the Vietnam war veteran and two-time presidential candidate.

Mr Hendrik Ilves posted the idea of renaming the new headquarters to his public Facebook page on Monday.

He called McCain one of Estonia’s “biggest friends and supporters”, and thanked him for supporting his nation in its quest for freedom from communist Russia and eventual entry into Nato in 2004.

Mr Ilves, who led Estonia for 10 years up to 2016, said the proposal could be raised with the North Atlantic Council as soon as this week.

The glass and steel behemoth fully opened in June and will eventually house 4,200 staff and 29 embassies.

Mr Tugendhat expressed his support for the idea in a letter to Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of Nato, writing that McCain “believed firmly in the closest possible US-European ties and the benefit of our alliance”.

The 81-year-old was a staunch supporter of the western alliance, making frequent visits to Nato member countries and voicing disappointment with President Donald Trump’s handling of the US relationship with Nato.

In an article for US news site Politico on Monday, Mr Ilves said there was one more important way to honour the veteran senator.

“Yes, the greatest transatlanticist of the post-Cold-War era deserves to have the new NATO headquarters named after him,” he wrote.

“But the world can best honor John McCain by following his example and honoring his legacy: political courage.”