Javier Solana is one of the most important political figures in the international arena. He has played a vital role in the development of global international relations for over three decades. He has been in charge of two of the highest supranational and intergovernmental organisations in the world: NATO and the EU. Solana was also the head of the European Defence Agency and he is a member of the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome.
in NATO he held the position of Secretary General from 1995 to 1999. In the EU he has had several top positions: Secretary General of the Council of the EU, first High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary General of the Western European Union (WEU). Due to all his experience he offers unique perspectives on the most important international affairs: security, defence and international relations.
"This is the essence of the European community, to bring together visions that are not very different, but are nonetheless different, then be required to act and come together to reach conclusions; and that is a good example for the other needs the world has for governance"
Solana is President and Rafik Hariri professor of the ESADE Centre for Global Economy and Geopolitics, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and President of the Aspen Institute in Spain. Solana, who was a Fulbright scholar at several US universities began his career as a public manager in 1977 in Spain. Between 1982 and 1996 he held a number of cabinet posts in the four governments headed by Felipe González: Minister of Culture; Education and Science; Foreign Affairs as well as government spokesman.
Solana’s term at NATO, coincided with a crucial stage in the history of the western defense organisation. Among the most important issues were the sending of the first mission of peacekeepers led by the Alliance to Bosnia-Herzegovina; the return of France, the creation of the Combined Joint Task Forces; the reform of the military structure; the invitation to former communist states to join the organisation and the founding of NATO-Russia relations.
In 1999, Solana left NATO to become Secretary-General of the Council of the EU and its first High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, commissioned with presenting ideas and analysing policy options to help EU leaders agree on foreign and security policy issues, thereby giving the Union more political clout in international affairs. Champion of multilateralism and Europeanism Solana produced the first strategic security doctrine of the EU and gave substance to the European Security and Defense Policy that established operational bodies and launched its first missions, military and civilian, to manage security crises.
Javier Solana has received major awards and honours such as the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic; the distinction of Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of St Michael and St George. He has also received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany; the Statesman of the Year Award from the East West Institute in New York and the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. Today he continues his important work focusing on the development of the Spanish Security Strategy and as Chair of Leadership and Democratic Governance at ESADE.