Solana to answer that ‘call from Kissinger’

In a bid to ensure continuity in the conduct of EU external
affairs, Javier Solana has been named as the EU’s first foreign

The famous question asked by former US foreign secretary Henry
Kissinger about whom he should call up in Europe if the world
caught fire, has moved a good step closer to a clear answer - three
decades later.

The nomination of Javier Solana, not only to
continue in his role as co-ordinator of the EU's common foreign and
security policy, but also to take over as the EU's first foreign
minister once this function is formally established, is a major
boost for continuity in the EU's foreign relations: "Europe has to
adapt itself and continue to be a player in international affairs,"
Solana has stated.

Barring the eventuality of non-ratification of
the Constitutional Treaty in one or several Member States, Solana
should enter the new job by the end of 2006.

Prior to his present function, Solana was
Secretary General of NATO from 1995 to 1999, a dramatic period that
saw the alliance engaging in a bombing campaign against Serbia to
stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. As foreign policy co-ordinator
from 1999 onwards, Solana made a strong contribution to keeping a
lid on a looming civil war in Macedonia. Later on, he ensured that
the EU successfully took over the peacekeeping operation from NATO
in 2003. He did not, however, manage to forge a common EU position
in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

In his future role as foreign minister in the
Council he will also be vice-president of the Commission. This is
set to end the present state of confusion whereby Chris Patten,
Commissioner for Foreign Relations, also represents the EU on the
international scene.

Patten has congratulated Solana on his
nomination: "I have greatly enjoyed working with him over the last
5 years, and I probably have more reason than anyone to know what a
superb job he will make of developing further Europe's nascent
Common Foreign and Security Policy".


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