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09/12/2016

Greek defence minister nominated as commissioner

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Greek defence minister nominated as commissioner

Dimitris Avramopoulos is currently defence minister for Greece. July 30 2013. [Glenn Fawcett/Flickr]

The Greek coalition government has nominated defence minister Dimitris Avramopoulos as commissioner in the new EU executive. EurActiv Greece reports.

The government yesterday (27 July) sent an official letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, informing him of the choice.

Ntora Bakoyiannis, Greece’s former foreign affairs minister (2006-2009), was widely thought to be a lead candidate for the job, but Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told her she was not being considered for a Commission post.

A career diplomat and former minister of foreign affairs, Avramopoulos was the third candidate for the leadership of the New Democracy party in 2009. He withdrew his candidacy at the very last moment, expressing full support for Samaras who was elected ahead of Ntora Bakoyannis to lead the centre-right party currently in power in Athens.

Since then, he has been a close ally of the Greek PM.

Which portfolio for Athens?

Juncker plans to visit Athens next week (4 August) to hold talks on the forming of the new cabinet of the EU executive. According to sources, Athens would be interested in the internal affairs or immigration portfolios.

Taking into account Avramopoulos’ profile and experience, the post of EU foreign affairs chief as a compromise solution among western and eastern European countries is also a possibility.

Background

The President of the Commission is elected by the Parliament by a majority of its members, on a proposal of the European Council acting by qualified majority. The choice of the candidate for the Presidency of the Commission should take account of the results of the elections in the European Parliament.

In consultation with the President-elect, the Council then adopts the list of the other Members of the Commission. These people are chosen on the basis of suggestions made by the Governments. The Commission is subject, as a body, to a vote of approval of the European Parliament. The College of Commissioners is then formally appointed by the European Council acting by qualified majority.

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