My friend Luis Martin Oar
The majority of our monthly newsletter readership know Luis Martín Oar and appreciate his expertise and efficiency. A great many of them are also aware of his refinement and discretion. Many members of the European Parliament consider that his departure will see them lose an important “mediator”, an influential person able to propose compromises between the opposing positions of different political groups, which everyone finds acceptable while still remaining faithful to the essential ideas behind each position. Within the context of national parliaments, we are quite used to diehard oppositions, for example between the right and left of the political spectrum. In the European Parliament, each subject is dealt with on its own merits in the eyes of the different groups and a consensus must be found on a case by case basis. An effective mediator therefore plays an invaluable role.
Our readers have known Luis Martín Oar since he became Head of Secretariat of the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee, which is primarily responsible for the energy sector. That takes us back to 1999. But the majority may not be aware that his first role was as Head of Secretariat for the Committee on Budgets back in 1988. This is how he has been involved in the Homeric wranglings between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament relating to the Parliament’s competency in budgetary matters. Many hot topics are still fresh in our minds, such as the EP right of veto, structural funds and non-compulsory expenditure.
What few people are aware of is that Luis Martín Oar’s entry into the European institutional system goes back further than 1988. In fact, it goes all the way back to 1986, when Spain joined the European Union. This is when Luis came to the European Investment Bank. Prior to that, he worked for several Spanish ministries as an economist. Then he was just turning 40.
But Luis Martín Oar’s international vocation goes back further still. Even earlier, as regards the European dimension of his vocation, to when Spain joined the Council of Europe – the oldest European institution – which took place on 24 November 1977, two years after the death of
General Franco. To become a member of the Council of Europe, an institution which is an active proponent of democracy, a State must adhere to criteria which are not the same as those required for the European Union, more oriented towards the economy.
In reality, Luis was immersed in international life from the age of four, when his father became Vice-Consul for Spain in Toulouse (FR) and two years later in Bordeaux (FR) where he remained for five years. This is how he learnt French by attending school in the country, as well as picking up English from his American friends.
Finally, I should add that at this time Luis had his first encounters with energy and cutting-edge technologies by reading the French periodicals dedicated to young people such as “Coeurs Vaillants” as well as the complete collection of the “Tintin” adventures, published by Hergé, the world-famous Belgian author, particularly “Land of Black Gold” or “The Red Sea Sharks”.
Luis Martín Oar has left the European Parliament and the following photos were taken at the leaving reception hosted by Herbert Reul, President of the ITRE Committee. But our high esteem and affection for him still remains – and I say this on my behalf and on that of my team at the European Energy Forum – and we sincerely hope to keep in touch with him in the future.