Javier Solana or Javier Solana Madariaga is a Spanish diplomat serving as the current High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union (EU) and Secretary-General of the Western European Union (WEU). He was a physicist who became a political minister for 13 years before serving as NATO Secretary-General 1995-99. He has been designated EU Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2006.
Born on July 14, 1942 in Madrid, Spain, Solana comes from a well known Spanish family and is the grandson of famous Spanish League of Nations disarmament chief, diplomat, writer and European integrationist Salvador de Madariaga and Scottish scholar and economic historian Constance de Madariaga. He is the son of writer Nieves Mathews. His older brother Luis was imprisoned for his political activities opposing the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
In 1963 as a Solana he was sanctioned by the authorities for having organised an opposition forum at the Complutense University called The Week of University Renovation. He clandestinely joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in 1964, which had been an illegal party under Franco since 1939. In the same year he graduated in chemistry. He spent a year furthering his studies in the United Kingdom until in 1965 he went to the United States of America for six years, studying at various universities on a Fulbright Scholarship. He taught physics for a time at the University of Chicago, and joined in the protests against the Vietnam War. He received his doctorate in physics in 1968 from the University of Virginia, where he taught and researched until 1971. Returning to Spain he became a lecturer in solid-state physics at the Complutense University, becoming a university professor 2 years later. During these years he published more than 30 articles.
Solana is married to Concepción Solana, and they have 2 children, but he lives alone in Brussels. He has admitted that his family life has suffered as a result of his work. He has been said to eat little and sleep less, surviving on a diet of fish and fruit. He is a gun collector. He is a frequent speaker at the prestigious US based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is likewise active with the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) as well as the New York City based East West Institute. He is a Knight of the Order of St Michael and St George, a member of the Spanish section of the Club of Rome. He has received the Grand Cross of Isabel the Catholic in Spain and the Manfred Wörner Medall from the German Defence Ministry.
On returning to Spain in 1971 Solana joined the Denocratic Co-ordination of Madrid as the PSOE representative. In 1976 he was elected PSOE's Federal Executive Commission Secretary in its first national congress inside Spain since the civill war, remaining in the post for five years. He quickly became a leading PSOE member, and was a close personal friend of their leader Felipe González. He became a representative of a teacher's union in the Complutense University, and in this role won a parliamentary seat for PSOE on June 15, 1977. In 1976 he represented them at a Socialist international congress held in Suresnes, France, and again when it was held in Spain in 1977.
On October 28, 1982 the PSOE won a historic victory, taking 202 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. On December 3, along with the other members of González' cabinet, Solana was sworn in as Minister for Culture, where he remained until moving to the Education Ministry in 1988. On July 5, 1985 he was also made the Official Spokesman for the Government for 3 years.
He was made Minister for Foreign Affairs on July 22, 1992, the day before the opening of the II Ibero-American conference of heads of state in Madrid, replacing the terminally ill Francisco Fernández Ordóñez. On November 27-28 1995, while Spain held the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Solana convened and chaired the Barcelona Conference. A treaty was achieved between the 27 nations in attendance with Solana gaining credit for what he called a process to foster cultural and economic unity in the Mediterranean region.
It was during these 13 years as a cabinet minister that Solana's reputation as a discreet and diplomatic politician grew. By going to the foreign Ministry in the later years of González administration he avoided the political scandals of corruption, and of the dirty war allegedly being fought against ETA, that characterised its last years.
Four months before the end of the PSOE era, and amid rumours in the Spanish press that Solana would run for the premiership in those elections, he became new Secretary-General of NATO on December 5, replacing Willy Claes who had been pushed to resign.
His appointment created controversy as he had been an opponent of NATO in his past. He had written a pamphlet called 50 Reasons to say no to NATO, and had been on a U.S. subversives list. In October 1982, when PSOE came to power the party changed their previous anti-NATO attitude into a pro-NATO, pro-USA stance. In March 1986 Spain held a referendum on whether to join NATO, with the government and Solana successfully campaigning in favour. When criticised about his anti NATO past Solana argued that he was happy to be its representative as it had become disassociated from its Cold War origins.
Solana immediately had to take command of the Balkans NATO mission Operation Joint Endeavour that consisted of a multinational peacekeeping Implementation Force (IFOR) of 60,000 soldiers which took over from a United Nations mission on December 20. This came about through the Dayton agreement, after NATO had bombed selected targets in Bosnia and Herzegovina the previous August and September. In December 1996 the Implementation Force was replaced by a 32,000 strong Stabilisation Force (SFOR) under first Joint Guard and then (in June 1998) under Joint Forge.
Under Solana's guidance, and in response to the opportunities in the new post Cold War era, NATO reorganised its political and military structure and changed its basic strategies. He gained the reputation of being a very capable, successful Secretary General who was capable of negotiating between the differing needs both of the members of NATO and those with whom they were negotiating. In December 1995 France returned to the military structure of NATO, while in November 1996 Spain joined it. On May 27, 1997, in Paris an agreement resulting in the Foundation Act was reached with Russia, after long and complex negotiations, that was considered a considerable diplomatic achivement as it formally ended hostilities between Russia and the NATO axis. On the same day he set up the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to improve relations between European NATO and non-NATO coutries. In July in Madrid the former Eastern bloc nations of Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were invited to begin talks to enter NATO.
Keeping the peace in the former Yugoslavia continued to be both difficult and controversial. IFOR had received a lot of criticism for their inability to capture the Serbian and Bosnian leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. Then on March 24, 1999, having repeatedly tried to negotiate with Serbia to stop its repression of the Albanian poulation in Kosovo, and failing that then demanding that it do so, and having been given authorisation by NATO member states, he launched air attacks on military and civilian targets in both Serbia and Kosovo province. These attacks were made without the authorisation of the UN Security Council because of the opposition of Russia. Solana justified the attacks on humanitarian grounds, and on the responsibility of NATO to keep peace in the region. He said he wanted to avoid the ethnic cleansing seen in Bosnia. Solana and NATO were criticised for the civilian casualties their bombings caused; see Legitimacy of NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. On April 23 and 24 the North Atlantic Council met in Washington D.C. where the Heads of State of the member nations changed the basic defensive nature of the organisation to allow for humanitarian interference, as well as giving greater military control to NATO, and other profound changes. On June 10 Serbia withdrew from Kosovo, and Solana stopped the attacks, which ended the Kosovo War. The same day Security Council Resolution 1244 allowed a NATO Kosovo Force to launch Joint Guardian and occupy the province on June 12. He left NATO on October 6 two months earlier than scheduled, and was replaced by George Robertson.
General Wesley Clark once asked Solana the secret of his diplomatic success. He answered, "Make no enemies, and never ask a question to which you do not know or like the answer." He has been described as a "squarer of circles".
EU Foreign Policy HeadEdit
On June 3-4 1999 Solana was appointed by the Cologne European Council as foreign policy chief of the newly created CFSP, which had been established as the second of the three pillars of the EU in the Maastricht Treaty. He would also become Secretary-General of the EU, in which role he presides over their Political and Security Committee (PSC). These posts began on October 18. On November 20 he also became Secretary-General of the WEU, a partially dormant European defence and security organisation. He thus oversees the ongoing transfer of functions from the WEU to the EU, with this latter appointment being a part of the partial merger of the WEU into the CFSP, though some have claimed that the WEU is now more active under Solana's leadership. Both the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) are organisations that were under the WEU but are now under the CFSP. A major element of the CFSP is the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), initiated by the Amsterdam Treaty and including the Petersberg tasks. In December 2003 Solana released the European Security Strategy which sets out the main priorities and identifying the main threats to the security of the EU. His posts were extended on June 29, 2004 when he was also designated the EU's first Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2006 (if the new EU constitution is ratified). On July 12, 2004 he was named head of a new EU defence agency that provides political guidance to ensure greater efficiency in EU members military spending.
He has received both criticism and praise for the extent of his new powers. He has said that even under the new constitution the minister can only act when there is unanimity amongst member states. The Clinton administration claimed in May 2000 that Solana was the fulfillment of Henry Kissinger's desire (fantasy) to have a single phone number to talk to all of Europe. In the same month Chris Patten, the European Commissioner for External Relations claimed that Solana was encroaching on his activities.
In March 2004 in response to the Madrid attacks he went on television to say that he thought it was the work of ETA. He later said he felt he had a duty as a patriotic Spaniard to believe what the government had told him. On January 21, 2005 he invited Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko to discuss future EU membership. He has negotiated numerous Treaties of Association between the European Union and various Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. He has played an important role working with the UN, Russia and the USA quartet in the Middle East and continues to be a primary architect of "The Roadmap" to work towards peaceful end to the conflict in Palestine, and on July 22, 2004 Solana met Ariel Sharon. Solana played a pivotal role in unifying the remainder of the former Yugoslavian federation. He proposed that Montenegro formed a union with Serbia instead of having full independence. Solana stated this was done to avoid a domino effect from Kosovo and Vojvodina independence demands. Local media sarcastically named the new country "Solania". In November 2004, he assisted Britain, France, and Germany in negotiating a nuclear material enrichment freeze with Iran. The EU has stated it hopes to avoid another invasion like the Iraqi one through this and future negotiations, and Solana has said the most difficult moments of his job were when the United Kingdom and France, the 2 permanent EU Security Council members, were in disagreement. On April 18 Solana told French students while electioneering for the referendum to be held there over ratifying the constitution that there is hostility towards the EU constitution from some American neoconservatives because they believe it represents a new rise in Europe's power.
- Curriculum Vitae of Javier Solana
- lang=EN&cmsid=246 Home Page
- shorter biography
- Biography in Spanish
- Interview as Spanish foreign minister in conflict with Canada
- Solana and NATO article
- Solana's development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy
- Spain and Solana's integration into NATO
- Assessment of next NATO Secretary General
- Civil liberties and Solana