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Javier  Solana

Javier Solana

International Relations Expert

Biography

Javier Solana is one of the world’s most prominent diplomats and one of the most significant political figures in the international arena for his vital role in the development of international relations for over two decades. He has been in charge of two of the highest supranational and intergovernmental organizations in the world: NATO and the European Union (EU). Solana was also the head of the European Defense Agency. Read More >

While working at NATO, Solana held the position of Secretary General from 1995 to 1999. As a key figure in the EU he held several top positions including 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). He offers unique perspective on international affairs, including but not limited to: diplomacy, trade, security, defense and international relations. “He is an extraordinary consensus-builder who works behind the scenes with leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that NATO is united when it counts,” states Alexander Vershbow, the US Ambassador to NATO.

Solana's mandate at NATO coincided with a crucial stage in the history of the Western defense organization. During his mandate he worked closely with the Clinton Administration to solve the conflict in former Yugoslavia.  Secretary of State Madeline Albright publicly stated, “Solana has the power and has had it since January 30, 1999. We are speaking with one voice through Javier Solana.” A skilled leader in crisis situations, Solana also attempted to bring peace to the Middle East conflict during his mandate, as part of the Israeli/Palestine Quartet along with Kofi Annan, Colin Powell and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov.

Solana left NATO in 1999 to become Secretary General of the Council of the EU and its first High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, tasked with presenting ideas and analyzing policy options to help EU leaders agree on foreign and security policy issues, thereby giving the Union more political clout in international affairs.  The Clinton Administration once announced in a press conference that Solana was the fulfillment of Henry Kissinger's long stated wish to have only one phone number to ring up for Europe.

A champion of multilateralism and Europeanism, Solana produced the first strategic security doctrine of the EU and gave substance to the European Security and Defense that premiered operational bodies and launched its first missions, military and civilian, to manage security crisis.

Solana, who was a Fulbright scholar at several US universities, began his career as a public minister 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, science and foreign affairs as well as acting as a government spokesman. Solana provides powerful insights into the challenges facing the international community, and the role of the EU and NATO in achieving global peace and security. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Visit from Hillary Clinton

On Obama's Speech

Speech Topics

Challenges Facing the International Community

Achieving Global Peace & Security: The Role of the EU & NATO

International Affairs & Relations

Connect with Javier Solana