The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Javier Solana

Javier Solana
Javier Solana
Javier Solana Madariaga (born July 14 1942) is the current Secretary General of the European Union as well as the current High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU. At the same time he also holds the office of the Secretary General of the Western European Union (WEU). In the past he also held the position of Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He has already been selected by the European Council of Ministers even in advance of the new EU Constitution ratification to the future position of Foreign Minister for the European Union. With this position he will have enhanced powers over European military and foreign policy. As such, he will further serve as the vice-president of the European Commission. With the enhanced new powers of that future office he will have the right of initiative and potential rights to reward countries following his lead and punishing those that do not. He is also actively seeking to hold the UN Security Council seat currently held by France and the United Kingdom. Germany also covets the seat, which has made for interesting potential conflict between Joschka Fischer and Solana as they jockey for the global influence any permanent UN Security Council seat could provide. Solana has been actively seeking "security council reform" which would permanently restructure the Security Council of the UN away from its current permanent members.

Solana frequently refers to himself as a "European and an Atlanticist." This refers to a long standing alliance between Western European-, American-, and Canadian-related interests. During his NATO tenure, Solana also chaired the Atlantic Council.



Family background

Solana was born on July 14, 1942 in Madrid, Spain. On his maternal side, he is the grandson of famous Spanish diplomat/writer Salvador de Madariaga (1886-1978). Salvador de Madariaga at various times served as Spanish ambassador to the United States and as chief of the Disarmament Section of the League of Nations. Solana's maternal grandmother, Constance Archibald de Madariaga was born Scottish. Like her diplomat-writer husband, she was also a well known scholar. She was professionally and academically known as an economic historian. Javier is the younger of the two sons of de Madariaga's daughter Nieves (1917-2003). Javier's older brother, Luis Solana de Madariaga, was born in Madrid in 1935. Solana's mother, like her more famous father, was also a published scholar and writer. Her full name at the time of her death was Nieves Hayat de Madariaga Mathews. She was employed for upwards of 20 years by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization ), a United Nations agency headquartered in Rome. Her Yale University-published book on the life of Sir Francis Bacon was released in 1996. The 606 page volume is entitled, Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination. Interestingly, Nieves de Madariaga Mathews (Solana's mother) claimed in her acknowledgements that the book was suggested and blessed by "my teacher, Osho, who thought highly of Francis Bacon and gave the book his blessing." Osho is more commonly known in USA circles as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Rajneesh gained extensive notoriety in the USA in the 1980s for his alleged Oregon cult compound. He was deported from the USA for its claimed excesses. As well as Rajneesh, Solana's mother was equally deeply and publicly influenced by the works of Immanuel Velikovsky. She devoted much time to her pursuit of both Velikovsky and Sir Francis Bacon literacy and causes.

Javier Solana's maternal aunt is Isabel de Madariaga , a professor emeritus of Slavonic Studies at the College of London . A brilliant and thorough scholar, she has published extensive historical works, most notably about Russian empress, Catherine the Great. Javier Solana's older brother Luis Solana is a retired Spanish telephone company chief executive officer; he was the first known Socialist party member to join the Trilateral Commission. Javier Solana, likewise, is active with the Trilateral Commission as he is with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) where although not a member, he is a frequent speaker and close friend of many of its principals. He is likewise active with the Foreign Policy Association (FPA).

On Solana's paternal side, his grandfather was Don Ezequiel Solana de Ramirez. He was reportedly a revered educator and text book author who died in 1931. Luis and Javier's father was Don Ezequiel Solana's son Francisco Solana.

Early history

Javier Solana's most personally listed affiliation apart from the Socialist party is the Spanish chapter of the Club of Rome. On a personal level, he has been said to "eat little and sleep less;" his is reportedly "a monk's diet of fish and fruit." Some accounts state that although he is active in global disarmament efforts, his favorite personal hobby is "collecting guns".

Professionally, apart from his political careers, Solana holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry (Received in Spain in 1963), a Master's Degree obtained in Great Britain, and a doctorate in physics; he is fond of saying that "in a previous incarnation I worked as a professor in solid-state physics." He received his doctorate in 1968 while studying at the University of Virginia under a Fulbright Scholarship in the United States. He taught and worked as a researcher at the University of Virginia between 1968 and 1971. Solana left the USA in 1971 to return to Spain with one of his teaching mentors. There he became employed by Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. Again, he was banished for political reasons, i.e. opposition to the Franco government. In 1975 his political nemesis, Generalissimo Francisco Franco died. Thereupon Solana, expelled in his youth for anti-Franco rebellion, gained a Complutense University professorship. That year, also, he involved himself in Spanish political life. As a representative of a teacher's union, he ran and won election as the Socialist candidate for the parliamentary seat he was to begin occupying in July 1977.

Solana has been a member of the Spanish socialist party PSOE since 1964. That was the year as well that he joined the "Socialist Youth." In 1976, he represented the Socialists at an internation Socialist Congress held in the French province of Suresnes. He participated in the same Congress held in 1977 in Spain. Solana was designated secretary of Information and Press of the Federal Executive Commission of the PSOE. He was also active in the Teacher's Union, the Federation of Workers of the Education of the General Union of Trabajadores (UGT). He was elected to the Spanish parliament as a representative of the Teacher's Union in 1977. He was continuously a member of the Spanish parliament and steadily advanced in the Ferdinand Gonzalez administration through various cabinet positions.

Between 1982 and 1995 he held powerful positions in the Spanish government including that of the Minister for Culture, Minister of Science and Education and lastly as Minister for Foreign Affairs (1992-1995). For most of those years he was also the official spokesman for the Spanish government. When it was Spain's turn to hold the rotating chairmanships/presidencies of the Council of the European Union and the Western European Union, Solana was designated by Spain to head those posts. Those dual posts would coincide in 1995.

On November 20th, 1995, during Spain's turn at the rotating six month presidency of the European Union, Javier Solana concluded a treaty between the European Union and Israel.

Role in NATO

On November 30, 1995, Solana was appointed as NATO Secretary General. His election was a surprise to many, including 52 United States congressmen who telegraphically protested his appointment because of his alleged Marxism and open Castro sympathies. He had once been on the USA's own subversive list. He was best known, per the Spanish newspapers observing the scene, as one of Spain's most vocal and most prominent opponents of NATO. He had once written a pamphlet, "50 Reasons to say NO to NATO." Between 1995 and 1999, Solana was NATO Secretary General.

The Secretary General of NATO usually has a ministerial role, passing on instructions from the member nations' consensus to its military components, but during his 1995 to 1999 NATO tenure, Solana was given sole unusual powers to make military decisions over Yugoslavia. For example, on January 30, 1999, he was given sole power to make all further military decisions over NATO Balkan operations. This included the say so on whether or not bombings should occur. Madeline Albright, USA Secretary of State then said by way of explanation, "Solana has the power and has had it since January 30, 1999. We are speaking with one voice through Javier Solana.", and on March 21, 1999, USA President Bill Clinton told a national American television audience in regards to the forthcoming bombings: "I agree with Javier Solana's decision to do this." The order to commence bombing against Yugoslavian targets was subsequently given solely by Solana.

USA General Wesley Clark, who as head military officer of the NATO coalition reported to and took orders from Solana, reports in his book WAGING MODERN WAR that he once asked Solana the secret of his success. Solana reflected briefly and then answered, "First make no enemies. Then never ask a question to which you do not know or do not like the answer."

Despite his activity in world politics, most Americans are unfamiliar with Solana's name, the Barcelona Process, and certainly the extent of his growing powers which are becoming increasingly global in scope and influence.

Roles in the EU and the Western European Union

Solana's NATO term was to have expired in December, 1999; however, he left that job two months early, in October 1999, to take the newly created position of Office of the High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (also more informally called "Señor PESC " ("Mr PESC ", in Spanish media)- Post of European Security Commissioner ). He was also given the title and responsibility of Secretary General of the European Union; this was for the purpose of giving continuity between the EU's 6 month rotating presidential administrations. These positions caused Solana to be generally described by the European press as "tsar of European military and foreign policy."

On November 20, 1999, Javier Solana was also selected by the ten-nation core of the Western European Union (WEU) to be its pending Secretary General, pending unification with the European Union. However, on June 5, 2000, the ten nation WEU in its Assembly Recommendation 666 noted that under its governing treaties, complete merger could not occur, and therefore they support a proposal to have the WEU Secretary General and CFSP High Representative (both Solana) preside over the PSC (Political Security Committee ) and convene the council of the European Union in the event of an emergency. (Such an emergency was declared after the 3/11 (March 11, 2004) Madrid train bombings.)

This appointment came on the same day as major world leaders were gathering at deceased British author Sir Harold Acton's old Italian villa then and now owned by New York University's School of Law. The gathering was of the Third Way Movement . Solana was in attendance at the villa as were U.S. President and Mrs. Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Romano Prodi and many other distinguished transatlantic leaders.

Javier Solana presides over Europe's Political Security Committee (PSC). All seated on that committee hold ambassador rank in the EU and serve at the pleasure of Javier Solana. All foreign ambassadors of the European Union entity (as opposed to its individual countries) as well as all EU military personnel are ultimately accountable to the Council of the European Union through Javier Solana. The EU's hope is that the pending new European constitution will strengthen and extend this European federal type set of structures.

In December 2003, Solana published the European Security Strategy.

Javier Solana did most or even all of the spearheading and coordination of the Barcelona Conference, the launching pad of the 27 nation Barcelona Process expected to lead to a Mediterranean free trade zone by 2010. This conference was opened by him on November 27, 1995. He opened by declaring that it was auspicious that it began on the 900th anniversary of the calling of the first crusade by Pope Urban II, and commented "What a lot of intolerance and misunderstanding that led to." The conference concluded with the 27 nations signing the Barcelona Treaty.

Solana has also negotiated numerous "Treaties of Association" between the European Union and various Mideast countries. In his tenure with the European Union, Javier Solana has been relatively busy on the world stage negotiating various integration treaties with South American countries such as Bolivia and Colombia. He has also been a vital part of the Quartet for Peace in the Middle East along with Kofi Annan of the United Nations, a Russian representative, and a USA representative. He has been said to be a primary architect of "The Roadmap" itself issued by "The Quartet",

In November 2004, Solana assisted Britain, France, and Germany in negotiating a nuclear material enrichment freeze with the leadership of Iran. The EU through Solana stated it hoped to avoid another American-Iraqi style invasion through this and future negotiations. Reuters
Others, particularly in the USA and England were more cynical about the motives. Rather than believe them altruistic, some British observers starting in the late 1990s stated that perhaps the EU's motives, engineered through Solana, were to dislodge the USA as a competing superpower in the coming 21st century struggle for increasingly scarce global resources. They pointed to the EU's own military buildup under the auspices of "peacekeeping" as perhaps a cover for planned future anti-USA efforts.


Solana claimed a pivotal role in unifying the remainder of the former Yugoslavian federation. Reportedly, he proposed accommodating the Montenegrine desires within the new loose union of Serbia and Montenegro (2003), instead of full independence of the parts. Solana claimed this was done to avoid a domino effect from Kosovo and Vojvodina independence demands. Local media sarcastically named the new country "Solania" after its claimed architect. Still other observers have pointed to this as a "Balkan reduction."


Increasingly as of 2004, there is increased reliance on Javier Solana on the part of the EU and the WEU, which has noticeably strengthened his military and foreign power. On June 29, 2004 Javier Solana was selected by the Council of the European Union to be its first Foreign Minister under the new EU constitution. Until formal ratification of the constitution occurs (slated for 2006), Solana is de facto exercising the defined powers of that future office as well as its approximate 26 billion euros budget (formerly reserved for the Commissioner of External Affairs).

A sign of that is that Solana no longer travels with the EU rotating presidency and the Commissioner of External Affairs (Chris Patten) as the reigning EU "troika" -- since the vote of the Council of Ministers, Solana now speaks and travels as the sole voice rather than one of three voices.

This was dramatically illustrated by events in Israel on or about July 20 to 22nd (2004). Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declined to meet with Solana, saying that because of an EU vote against Israel at the UN that Israel would not work with the EU, notwithstanding despite its prominence on the Quartet for Peace in the Middle East. Solana stunned the world, Israel included, by replying that like it or not, both he and the EU were there to stay on the Israeli-Palestinian decision making processes.

The Clinton White House once announced in a press conference that Javier Solana was the fulfillment of Henry Kissinger's long stated wish to have only one phone number to ring up for Europe. Post June 29, 2004, many other sources were making the same observation -- that Kissinger (and anybody else) could ring up Europe by calling only Javier Solana.

Some Solana-watchers are noting his rise to power with growing fascination. They have said that three countries presently stand in the way of controlling the Foreign Minister seat as he says is necessary to have one effective voice speak for Europe. The three countries that presently appear to be taking preventive measures to block him are Germany, France, and England. While they have been and continue to be from time to time enthusiastic Solana supporters, it appears they are aligning to form a type of an "EU directorate." The apparent and even obvious purpose is to continue to control as much as possible EU foreign policy after the new constitution takes final effect. If Solana is to soon take his full seat of Euro-power as the new EU Foreign Minister, as he projected he planned to do in a recent Der Spiegel article, realistically he would first have to find a way to modify these EU governments and/or their leadership to properly fit his foreign policy agenda. Some observers note that this would entail a necessary and even potentially ugly power struggle if he is to assume the powers projected for the Foreign Minister post. In doing so, some say that if he is successful in throwing off this potential trio of resistance that might then be said to have "subdued" (won power struggles) against three of the ten countries projected to have weighted power in the forthcoming European Union under its new constitution, assuming the new already signed European Union constitution is timely ratified. Solana is obviously aware of these potential conflicts. He has of late publicly downplayed the potential powers of the office saying that even under the new constitution and the new Foreign Minister with all its projected powers, that such can only be exercised if there is complete unanimity among EU participants. Given Solana's talents in securing consensus but also bringing pressure to bear where necessary, it will be interesting to watch how Solana and/or his successors of this office crafted by him play out the role of the new EU Foreign Minister. Many foresee a power struggle which they believe Solana will win to determine whether or not one voice, or a trio, shall speak for Europe -- Javier Solana and/or his successor in office OR the France-Germany-Great Britain leadership presently appearing threatened by the potential powers of his forthcoming office.


As the anti-Franco activist in his youth and the anti-NATO activist in his 40s combined with his leadership of NATO in his 50s, Javier Solana has sometimes been called a "squarer of circles" (i.e. reconciler of opposites). Past illustrations of this (whether intentional or not) were his marriage to the daughter (Concepción Giménez) of a top Franco general and by his heading NATO in his fifties. He has also played an active role in the various Mideast peace processes at least between 1991 and the present time.

Javier Solana is married to Concepcion Giménez Solana, herself a teacher. They are the parents of two grown children: a son, Diego, and a daughter, Vega. Solana reportedly has never moved his immediate family - wife and children - to Brussels, his main residence since taking his NATO post in the late fall of 1995 and his European Union posts thereafter. He has admitted that his family life has suffered as a result of the schedules from his NATO post and EU jobs forward.

External links

  • Curriculum Vitae of Javier Solana

Last updated: 02-07-2005 08:08:52
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55