• Obituary Pedro Solbes, in memoriam
  • Obituary Zapatero: "Solbes gathered the best qualities of a public servant"

Pedro Solbes (El Pinós, Alicante) died this Saturday in Madrid at the age of 80 after a long illness. The news of his death came while Ferraz Street was meeting the Federal Committee of the PSOE, the party to which he never joined but under whose acronym he held the most prominent government positions: he was Secretary of State for Relations with the European Communities, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Minister of Economy and Finance during the mandate of Felipe González and, later, again Minister of Economy and Finance with the rank of second vice president, in the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Convinced Europeanist and expert connoisseur of the community machinery was even endorsed by the Executive of José María Aznar to occupy one of the most important positions of the European Commission, the one in charge of the portfolio of Economic and Monetary Affairs. His life was dedicated for four decades to public service, always building bridges between Madrid and Brussels.

Precisely because of his vast knowledge of European relations and his solid prestige as an economist, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero chose him as the strong man of his first government to lead the Spanish economy. During the first legislature the relationship between the two was fluid and fruitful. In the second, with the crisis knocking on doors, the discrepancies between the imaginative and unpredictable politician and the professorial and calm economist began to surface.

The first could with the second dragging him to a stage that lowered the curtain before a perfect economic storm impossible to avoid. The minister bowed to the president's political and electoral strategy even knowing that it was wrong. Finally, Solbes said no and left the government. No stridency, but too late. Some time later he publicly admitted his immense error, so great that his name has inevitably been associated for many with that stage in which Spain was sinking without anyone trying to remedy it.

Yesterday, as soon as the news of his death was known, the Socialist Party turned to give him memory on social networks. And not only. There were also many opposition politicians who made their condolences public.

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, in a last speech before the Federal Committee, had an emotional memory towards the former vice president assuring that his death had "overwhelmed" the entire socialist family. Later, in a tweet, he described him as a "statesman dedicated to serving his country and defending social democratic values."

The PSOE also issued a statement highlighting its "exemplary trajectory at the service of Spain and the institutions".

Former President Rodríguez Zapatero stressed for his part that "he had the best qualities as a public servant: seriousness, rigor, reliability and honesty."

Also the president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo emphasized his condition of "public servant" defining him as "one of the main socialist values for decades" and the president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, remembered him as "a great figure" and a "reference for Spanish politics".

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  • Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
  • Alberto Núñez Feijóo
  • PSOE
  • Pedro Sanchez
  • Meritxell Batet
  • European Commission
  • Jose Maria Aznar
  • Felipe Gonzalez
  • Luis Planas
  • Alicante