Javier Solana’s official title is High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy for the European Union. He took the post following his four-year position as Secretary General of NATO.
Javier Solana was born in Madrid in 1942. As a youth he joined the then-outlawed Spanish Socialist Workers Party, and supported the party’s opposition to NATO.
After the socialists won the 1982 elections, they reversed their NATO policy. Spain had joined the organization earlier that year.
Javier Solana is one of Spain’s cleverest political figures. Personable and smooth-talking, an able negotiator, fluent in English and French, the former Madrid University Physics professor is one of the few members of the socialist government headed by Felipe González whose image was relatively untouched by the corruption scandals that cost the González government the 1996 general elections.
Solana was a socialist member of parliament from 1977 to 1995. He served variously as Minister of Culture, Minister of Education and Science and finally Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post he held between 1992 and his appointment as NATO Secretary General in 1995. His appointment came at the same time as the Treaty’s deployment of a peace-keeping force in war-torn Bosnia.
He has negotiated numerous Treaties of Association between the European Union and various Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, including Bolivia and Colombia. Solana played a pivotal role in unifying the remainder of the former Yugoslavian federation.
Solana spent six years as a Fulbright Scholar in the United States and received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Virginia.