Throughout my professional experience, there are many examples that I have found of good public servants, who dedicate a large part of their lives to working for others in the political or technical field, but there are few who gather in the same person the professional and personal qualities of Pedro Solbes, a key figure in the recent history of Spain and Europe.
Based on a solid background in economics, law and politics, and strong convictions as a democrat, Europeanist and socialist, defender of social rights, he developed an intense career and played a leading role in Spain’s accession process to the EU . Back in Brussels, he led the introduction of the euro, our single currency, undoubtedly one of the great successes of European construction. He left good friends there and a great memory as a Spanish commissioner, being a defender of a fair application of tax rules, the same for all countries.
He was also a great minister and vice president of the Government. He is always honest, loyal, committed to the general interest and to social progress.
Behind his professorial appearance and his low tone of voice, there was a person with enormous intelligence and a great sense of humor. He is always simple, cordial, correct and respectful but with a point of sarcasm, rigorous in substance, familiar and very humane and loved by his teams.
I was lucky to work with him as Director General of Competition in a period in which there were several intense moments and difficult meetings. Among them, I remember the unexpected call from the vice president, something very unusual, especially in a ministry as large as the Economy and Finance, shortly after announcing a highly complex and politically sensitive merger operation. In it, without preamble, he gave me clear guidance: “There will be a lot of noise, a lot of pressure, there are many interests involved, but I want you to be clear that we are going to do things well, thinking only of the general interest.” With very few words, he gave me invaluable trust and support, which he would maintain throughout the years, as the professional relationship developed into a friendship full of respect and understanding.
An honest and generous person has left us, an exemplary public servant. A dear friend. A good man.
Nadia Calviño is First Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs.
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