Bye Bye Brussels EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana to Step Down

Just as his job description looks set to change, Javier Solana has announced his intention to move on from his role as EU foreign policy chief in the autumn. He told a newspaper on Sunday that his "time has come."

After a decade of service to the European Union, Javier Solana will step down as foreign policy chief when his mandate expires in October. While EU pundits had anticipated the move, there had been no official confirmation until this weekend.

Solana, aged 66, told the Spanish daily ABC on Sunday, "I had a 10-year mandate, which I fulfilled. I do not mean to go any further." When asked about the possibility of standing for another term, he reitterated, "It would make no sense for me. I think my time has come."

On Monday Solana's spokesperson Cristina Gallach confirmed his decision to step down. "He's been very active, and he has been fortunate to serve the EU, and, after the mandate ends, he will be very active doing other activities," she said.

Solana, who has also served as Spanish foreign minister and head of NATO, leaves the post of foreign policy chief just as it is about to undergo changes that would have seen him gain more power. Should the Lisbon Treaty finally be ratified later this year , the next incumbent is set to become vice president of the European Commission, head of a new EU diplomatic service and chair of all the EU foreign minister council meetings.

During his time in office, Solana established himself as a key negotiator and speaker for the EU on the subject of Iran's nuclear capabilities. He also worked on raising the status of Europe internationally. Reflecting on his achievements, he said "We have given Europe its current world standing."

ecb with wire reports
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