The Most Excellent Javier Solana (Spain)

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Former Secretary General, NATO

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After a decade in domestic Spanish politics taking in Culture, Education and Foreign ministries, Javier Solana led NATO through reorganisation in the aftermath of the Cold War. He also served as the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union.


Javier Solana has served as the Secretary General of NATO, the European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. He is one of Spain’s and Europe’s most important and influential political figures of recent times.

As a student Javier was active in politics and was subsequently sanctioned by the fascist Franco government. He taught in the US before returning to Spain and the political arena. Following Franco’s death Javier was elected to the new Spanish parliament to represent Madrid.

Serving in the first properly democratic government since the civil war, Javier established a reputation as an honest political operator and an admired consensus builder. He served in the Culture, Education and Foreign ministries during a decade in government. He then moved to head NATO and would go on to lead the political and military organisation through a crucial phase in its history. Within days of taking office he saw the NATO-led peacekeeping force deployed in Bosnia. He negotiated the treaty establishing NATO’s relationship with the Russian Federation. As chairman of the North Atlantic Council - NATO's highest decision-making body - he was charged with finding common ground between allies, and led negotiations with non-member states. He also presided over NATO Heads of State summits and was instrumental in reorganising and renewing the organisation’s structure in the post-Cold War world.

Javier left NATO and joined the Council of the European Union as secretary-general and its first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. As the EU’s de facto foreign minister he drafted the Union’s first strategic security guidelines and was key in the creation of the European Security and Defence Policy.

Noted for his work bringing together players on both sides of the Atlantic, Javier is a keen multilateralist and remains a forceful voice in world affairs. He is a regular contributor to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy Association and the East West Institute. He has worked on Spanish Security Strategy and is President of the ESADE Business School’s Centre for Global Economy and Geopolitics. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institute, President of the Aspen Institute in Spain, and is the recipient of many state honours from countries across Europe.

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