The Ex minister Y former Secretary General of NATO Javier Solana (Madrid, 1942) is the new president of the Royal Board of the Prado Museum, replacing José Pedro Pérez Llorca. The people in charge of the art gallery have chosen it unanimously at a meeting held on Thursday.
Solana was head of European diplomacy or
under the position of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy between 1999 and 2009; Secretary General of the NATO between 1995 and 1999, and holder of several portfolios in socialist governments: in particular, minister of Culture (1982-1988), spokesman of the Government (1985-1988), responsible for Education and Science (1988-1992) and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Solana's relationship with the great Madrid museum dates back to the eighties. It was in 1985 when, under his mandate as head of Culture, the institution became autonomous body
or attached to the Ministry. The decision allowed the Prado to equip itself with new statutory rules that, with a radical modification of those in force since 1920, made it possible to recover the capacity to decide on the increase of its collections.
In his first statements after elected president, Solana set as the number one priority of his mandate the execution "on schedule" of the expansion of the museum that as a main element includes the restoration of the Hall of Realms. For this, the Board will use "all necessary efforts", both public -through the general budgets of the State-, and "private" through the patrons of the museum.
Solana was "excited" with his choice. And he recalled the many hours he dedicated to the entity more than 30 years ago, being Minister of Culture. Between the milestones of that stage in the Prado he remembered the cleanliness of the painting of Las Meninas and the launching of the museum abroad.
"But the important thing is not what was done but what needs to be done," the new president added. "The Prado has a map," he said, adding that in the first place "we are going to finish what was planned for the Bicentennial" of the art gallery.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, José Guirao, said for his part that Solana "has all the characteristics" suitable for the position, as happened with his predecessor.