Claes, Willy

Claes, Willy
▪ 1995

      Following the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and the subsequent dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) appeared to be an alliance without a mission. However, as the disintegration of the Soviet empire spawned a variety of separatist movements and the conflict in former Yugoslavia threatened to engulf the Balkans, NATO once again emerged as a significant international institution. In late 1994 a new leader took on the task of leading NATO into the 21st century. On September 29, following the death of Secretary-General Manfred Wörner (see OBITUARIES (Worner, Manfred )), the North Atlantic Council chose Willy Claes, the Belgian minister of foreign affairs, as the new secretary-general of NATO.

      Claes was an unusual selection as leader of the world's most powerful military alliance. A lifelong socialist, he had spoken out against the deployment of U.S. missiles in Europe during the 1980s and had been a senior figure in the Belgian government that had refused to take part in the Persian Gulf war. As a member of the European Union's Council of Ministers, he had also spoken strongly against Europe's ineffectuality in dealing with the conflict in former Yugoslavia.

      Claes was born in Hasselt, Belgium, on Nov. 24, 1938. After studying at the Free University of Brussels, he was elected to the Hasselt City Council (1964). A Flemish Socialist, Claes entered national politics in 1968 when he was elected to the parliament. He became spokesman for the Belgian Socialist Party in 1971 and was named minister of education the following year. In 1973 Claes accepted appointment as minister of economic affairs, and he was praised for his handling of the 1973-74 oil crisis.

      After his party's return to power, Claes again served as minister of economic affairs (1977-82). In 1979 he was also appointed deputy prime minister, a post he held five times. Claes developed a reputation as a talented diplomat, and he was enlisted by King Baudouin to aid in the formation of a coalition government during a period of political turmoil in the 1980s. In 1992, following a third term as economics minister, Claes became minister of foreign affairs. That same year, he was elected chairman of the Party of European Socialists.

      Following his appointment as secretary-general of NATO, Claes reaffirmed his commitment to the alliance as the bedrock of European security. By year's end, the war in Bosnia still raged and a new conflict had broken out in the Chechnya region of Russia. What role NATO would play in these conflicts was still open to question, but they both symbolized the type of confrontation that the new secretary-general would have to face in the future. (JOHN H. MATHEWS)

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Willy Claes — est un homme politique, musicien et chef d orchestre belge, né à Hasselt le 24 novembre 1938, membre du parti socialiste flamand, ministre d État nommé en 1983 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Willy Claes — Willem Werner Hubert „Willy“ Claes (* 24. November 1938 in Hasselt) ist ein belgischer Politiker der Flämischen Sozialistischen Partei. Claes war ab 1968 Mitglied des Belgischen Parlaments, zwischen 1973 und 1992 war er mit zwei Unterbrechungen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Willy Claes — Willy Werner Hubert Claes [Decan, Rik, Wie is wie in Vlaanderen 2000 2002, Brussel: BRD, 1999.] (born 24 November 1938) was Secretary General of NATO and a Belgian politician. He was a member of the Flemish Socialist Party.Claes was born in… …   Wikipedia

  • Willy Claes — Willy Claes. Willem Werner Hubert Willy Claes (Hasselt, 24 de noviembre de 1938) fue Secretario General de la OTAN y político belga. Fue miembro del Partido Socialista. Empezó su carrera política en el ayuntamiento de Hasselt. En 1968 formó parte …   Wikipedia Español

  • Claes — ist der Name von Astrid Gehlhoff Claes (Pseudonym: Astrid Claes; * 1928), deutsche Schriftstellerin Ernest Claes (1885–1968), flämischer Schriftsteller Heinrich Claes (1885–1963), Bürgermeister von Leverkusen Jean Baptiste Claes (* 1937),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Claes —   [klaːs],    1) Ernest André Josef, flämischer Schriftsteller, * Zichem (bei Diest) 24. 10. 1885, ✝ Ukkel 2. 9. 1968; Heimatdichter, v. a. Erzählungen. Seine Kunst ist humoristisch und gemütsbetont, realistisch und manchmal stark typisierend.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Claes —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Le patronyme Claes ou Claeys (Clays) provient du prénom néerlandais Klaas ou Niklaas (comme dans Sint Niklaas), anciennement écrit comme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Willy Claes — former secretary general of NATO who was born in Belgium in 1938 …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Hilde Claes — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Claes. Hilde V.M. Claes, née le 27 octobre 1967 à Hasselt est une femme politique belge flamande, membre du sp.a. Elle est la fille de Willy Claes. Elle est licenciée en droit (VUB) et avocate. Fonctions… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des députés flamands (anciens) — Au 21 septembre 2009, la liste des anciens députés flamands. Il s agit de membres ne siègeant plus et ayant siégé lors d une précédente législature. Sommaire 1 A 2 B 3 C 4 D …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”