Blog AnalysisInterviewEEAS High Representative

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

(BRUSSELS2) He officially confirmed it to our Spanish colleagues at ABC on Sunday, as he had already implied (cf. biography) Javier Solana, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Policy, will not run for a third term. But he has already been in this position twice, 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. " This doesn't mean I'm going to bed. I still have many years to be active and I won't quit. There are many places where one can serve. I'm going to die with their boots. »

Europe has a telephone: Solana's

The one who is the “chief diplomat of the Union” has given a little voice and soul to European foreign policy. Of course it didn't happen with fanfare. And inside the European Union, we can find the character a little soft, not thunderous enough. In a way, one could say “fortunately”. Because this is 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 also (with his 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 continued to travel to all countries, discreetly reminding the “15” then the “25” and the “27” of their duties. And little by little, not a single vision is forged but what we could call “a community of approaches” despite different histories. When you don't know Solana well, you can be fooled by her innocuous, even confused, appearance and find her role insignificant. That's the first impression he gave me. And like others, I let myself be fooled, remaining on this first impression for several years.

Since I have been covering defense policy (PESD) more closely, I have had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions and discover him better. And his (seeming) incomprehensible sentences, his hesitations or his silences sometimes mean more than speeches. And, then, he's not the type to publicly brag about a deal or success he didn't contribute to. Even when he contributed, he remained very discreet (read his portrait).

We will be able to see the whole place he occupies when he leaves office at the end of October. Finally… end of October. A little more perhaps, due to the Treaty of Lisbon, a little delayed in ratification, or confusion in the appointments of 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 personal style“. And a few moments: “a trip on the Congo River, with President Kabila, in a small boat near poverty, with a good atmosphere which caused two or three to be written
articles of the Constitution, for the elections in 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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