Solana will not re-enlist: “10 years is enough”

(BRUXELLES2) He officially confirmed this to our Spanish colleagues from ABC on Sunday, as he had already hinted (cf. biography) Javier Solana, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy, will not run for a third term. But he has already done two in this position, 10 years.

And, as he says I think ten years is more than enough”. But for all that he does not intend to hang up. " It doesn't mean I'm going to bed. I still have many years to be active and I will not quit. There are many places where one can serve. I will die with their boots. »

Europe has a phone: Solana's

The man who is the “Union's chief diplomat” has given a little voice and soul to European foreign policy. Of course it was not with drums and trumpets. And inside the European Union, we can find the character a little soft, not thunderous enough. In a way, you could say “fortunately”. Because that's what allowed the new position he created, to exist first, and then to develop. Outside the EU, however, there is no doubt. In Iran, in the Middle East in particular, in Africa as well (with its alter ego at the European Commission, Louis Michel, in charge of Development), in the Caucasus or the Balkans, Europe does have “a telephone”: that of Solana .

For almost ten years, he has not stopped traveling in all countries, discreetly reminding the “15” then the “25” and the “27” of their duties. And little by little, not a single vision is being forged, but what could be called “a community of approaches” despite different histories. When you don't know Solana very well, you can be misled by her harmless, even confused appearance, and find her role insignificant. This is the first impression he gave me. And like others, I let myself be deceived, remaining on this first impression for several years.

Since I have been covering defense policy (ESDP) more closely, I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with him on several occasions and get to know him better. And his sentences (seeming) incomprehensible, his hesitations or his silences sometimes mean more than speeches. And, then, he's not the type to publicly brag about a deal or a success he didn't contribute to. Even when he has contributed to it, he remains very discreet (see his portrait).

We will be able to see all the place he occupies when he leaves office at the end of October. Finally… end of October. A little more perhaps, because of the Treaty of Lisbon, a little delayed in the ratification, or jamming in the nominations of the commissioners for the new Commission (read the first failure of Barroso II).

And some memories

The interview with ABC is a personal exercise, quite intimate. What impressed Solana the most? “King Hussein of Jordan. A man of great dignity, great intelligence and with a personal style“. And a few moments: “a trip on the Congo River, with President Kabila, in a small boat close to misery, with a good atmosphere that made two or three people write
articles of the Constitution, for the elections in the Congo. Or when Arafat died, he was the only foreigner to share with his friends on the evening of the funeral. De long discussions with the Pashtuns, after the assassination of Bhutto...
" And if by the end of his mandate (end of October), he can negotiate a “peace process“He would be the happiest man in the world.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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