Dimitris Avramopoulos

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Dimitris Avramopoulos
Δημήτρης Αβραμόπουλος
Commissioner D. Avramopoulos speaks at Global Forum on Migration and Devolopment in Istanbul, 14 10 2015 (21547352723) (cropped).jpg
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
In office
1 November 2014 – 30 November 2019
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byCecilia Malmström (Home Affairs)
Martine Reicherts (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship)
Succeeded byYlva Johansson
Minister for National Defence
In office
25 June 2013 – 1 November 2014
Prime MinisterAntonis Samaras
Preceded byPanos Panagiotopoulos
Succeeded byNikolaos Dendias
In office
11 November 2011 – 17 May 2012
Prime MinisterLucas Papademos
Preceded byPanagiotis Beglitis
Succeeded byFrangoulis Frangos
Deputy Leader of New Democracy
In office
2 July 2010 – 1 November 2014
Serving with Stavros Dimas
LeaderAntonis Samaras
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byAdonis Georgiadis
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
21 June 2012 – 25 June 2013
Prime MinisterAntonis Samaras
Preceded byPetros Molyviatis
Succeeded byEvangelos Venizelos
Minister for Health and Social Solidarity
In office
15 February 2007 – 7 October 2009
Prime MinisterKostas Karamanlis
Preceded byNikitas Kaklamanis
Succeeded byMariliza Xenogiannakopoulou
Minister for Tourism
In office
18 March 2004 – 7 October 2009
Prime MinisterKostas Karamanlis
Preceded byAkis Tsochatzopoulos (Development)
Succeeded byFani Palli-Petralia
Mayor of Athens
In office
1 January 1995 – 31 December 2002
Preceded byLeonidas Kouris
Succeeded byDora Bakoyannis
Personal details
Born (1953-06-06) 6 June 1953 (age 69)
Athens, Greece
Political partyNew Democracy
SpouseVivian Spanoudi
EducationUniversity of Athens
Université libre de Bruxelles

Dimitris Avramopoulos (Greek: Δημήτρης Αβραμόπουλος) is a Greek politician of the conservative New Democracy party, and former career diplomat. He has served in various high-level cabinet posts, including Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for National Defence, and was Mayor of Athens in 1995–2002. He served as EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship in the Juncker Commission between 2014 and 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Avramopoulos was born in Athens in 1953, into a family which had originally come from Ilia and Elliniko in Arcadia. He served his 26 months military service from 1978 to 1980 in the Hellenic Air Force.[1]

He is married to Vivian, with whom he has two sons, Filippos and Iasonas. Apart from his native Greek, he speaks English, French and Italian fluently.

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1980, Avramopoulos joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, where he worked until 1993. From 1988 to 1992, he served as Greek Consul to Belgium in Liège. At the same time he was a Special Adviser to Konstantinos Mitsotakis, President and Leader of the New Democracy. During this time he also represented Greece in Vienna at the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe. In 1992 he became official spokesman of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was appointed Consul General of Greece in Geneva. In 1993 he was promoted to director of the Prime Minister of Greece's Diplomatic Office.[2]

Political career[edit]

Dimitri Avramopoulos, Foreign Minister of Greece, with President Obama and the First Lady, at the 67th UN General Assembly in 2012

Mayor of Athens[edit]

In 1993, Avramopoulos resigned from Greek diplomatic service to enter parliamentary politics as a member of New Democracy and was elected a member of its Central Committee. From 1993 to 1994 he served as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament. In 1994 he was elected Mayor of Athens, and was re-elected in October 1998 in a historic first-round landslide victory. From 1995 to 1999 he served as chairman of the Central Union of Local Authorities of Greece.

In 1995 he founded the “Permanent Conference of the Mayors of the Capitals of South-East Europe” and served as its first President. From 1996 to 2000 he served as Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and from 1997 to 2002, as a member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union. Elected as President of the Summit Conference of the Mayors of the World in 2000, he served until 2002, during which time he founded the "World Union of Olympic Cities", "Athens’ International Prize for Democracy", and “World Institute of Global and Cities’ Diplomacy”, Rome.

Ministerial posts[edit]

In March 2001, he split from New Democracy with his Movement of Free Citizens (KEP), but in a surprising move merged back in June 2002. When in 2004 New Democracy won the parliamentary elections, Avramopoulos was appointed Minister of Tourism, serving until 2006, and afterwards, from 2006 until 2009, as Minister of Health and Social Solidarity.[3]

In the October 2009 election, Avramopoulos was re-elected to the Hellenic Parliament representing the constituency of Athens A. After the election of Antonis Samaras to the “New Democracy” Party Presidency he was appointed President of the Organizing Committee of the 8th Party Congress held at Athens in June 2010. In July 2010, he became Vice-President of “New Democracy”, serving until 1 November 2014.

On November 11, 2011 he was appointed Minister for National Defence in the coalition government of Lucas Papademos, resigning from his parliamentary seat, thus adhering to the New Democracy policy that no serving Opposition Party Deputies may hold ministerial office.

At the May 6, 2012 election, Avramopoulos was returned as Deputy for Athens A, being re-elected in the June 17, 2012 general election. On June 21, 2012 he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs. After the Cabinet reshuffle of June 25, 2013, he became Greek Minister for Defence again, serving until his nomination as Greece's European Commissioner in November 2014.

European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs[edit]

Avramopoulos and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in 2018

On 27 July 2014, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras nominated Avramopoulos as Greece's next member of the European Commission.[4] Before the nomination, Dora Bakoyiannis was widely seen to be a strong contender for the Commission post.[4] Samaras also defied calls from the centre-left Pasok party for Maria Damanaki to continue as European Commissioner.[4]

Jean-Claude Juncker then nominated Avramopoulos as European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs. In this capacity, Avramopoulos shares competency over cyber-security matters with Günther Oettinger.[5]

In the aftermath of the victory of the left-wing SYRIZA party in the 25 January election in 2015, Avramopoulos' name was widely circulated in Greek media as the most likely choice for SYRIZA's candidate in the second round of the election for the Presidency of Greece. According to the Greek media reports, the nomination would be seen both as a gesture of conciliation with the right, but would crucially also enable SYRIZA to nominate its own European Commissioner.[6] On 30 January Samaras phoned Avramopoulos and assured him that New Democracy would support his eventual nomination.[7]

Avramopoulos criticized the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria. He said that "the European Union remains committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian state".[8]

Other positions[edit]

From the outset of his political career, Avramopoulos served for twenty years as Honorary President of the Athens’ International Prize for Democracy for UNESCO in Paris (until 2013). He has also been Chairman of the Steering Committee on Cities´ Diplomacy, established by the Global Forum (Rome) and the World Bank Institute (Washington D.C.). He was elected President of the “World Institute of Global and Cities’ Diplomacy”, an independent NGO based in Rome as well as Executive President of the “World Union of Olympic Cities”, an Olympic Games NGO.

Greek-Turkish rapprochement[edit]

Avramopoulos has a friendly relation with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since they were Mayors of Athens and Istanbul respectively.[9] He is deemed one of the main proponents of Greek-Turkish rapprochement. Also this year the two former Mayors came together to discuss topics regarding Migration, Borders and Security on European and EU-level in Istanbul on 3 June 2019.[10] On the same day, Avramopoulos also met with Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to discuss about the same topic. [11]

Academic degrees[edit]

Avramopoulos read Public Law and Political Science at Athens University Law School, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). He then undertook postgraduate studies receiving a Master's degree in European Studies at the Institute of European Affairs, Université libre de Bruxelles. He has been conferred honorary doctorates by Adelphi University (Long Island, New York), Deree College (Athens), Drexel University (Philadelphia) and Kingston University (London), and has been elected Honorary Professor of Peking University (Beijing) and of the European College of Parma (Italy).[1]


Avramopoulos has received numerous honors from European States as well as many countries around the world for his diplomatic, public and charitable service:

GRE Order of the Phoenix - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross, Order of the Phoenix (Greece)

Order of Civil Merit (Spain) GC.svg Grand Cross, Order of Civil Merit (Spain)

BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Grand Cross, Order of the Crown (Belgium)

BEL Order of Leopold II - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross, Order of Leopold II (Belgium)

SWE Order of the Polar Star (after 1975) - Commander Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross, Order of the Polar Star (Sweden)

FIN Order of the Lion of Finland 1Class BAR.png Grand Cross, Order of the Lion (Finland)

POR Ordem do Merito Gra-Cruz BAR.svg Grand Cross, Order of Merit (Portugal)

EST Order of the White Star - 1st Class BAR.png 1st Class, Order of the White Star (Estonia)

POL Order Zaslugi RP kl3 BAR.png Commander, Order of Merit (Poland)

LUX Order of the Oak Crown - Commander BAR.png Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Couronne de Chêne (Luxembourg)[12]

AUT Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria - 8th Class BAR.png Grand Decoration, Honour for Services to the Republic (Austria)

MLT National Order of Merit BAR.svg Companion, National Order of Merit (Malta)

Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg Officer, Legion d'Honneur (France)

LUX Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - Officer BAR.png Officer, Order of Merit (Luxembourg)

Ordre national du Merite Chevalier ribbon.svg Knight, National Order of Merit (France)

GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 4 GrVK.svg Commander, Order of Merit (Germany)

Order of the Cedar - Grand Cordon (Lebanon) Ribbon.png Grand Cordon, National Order of the Cedar (Lebanon)

Bg1ocm.png 1st Class, Order for Civil Merit (Bulgaria)

Order of Makarios III (Cyprus) - ribbon bar.gif Knight, Order of Makarios III (Cyprus)

Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Grand Cross, Order of Diego de Losada (Venezuela)

Order of the Yugoslavian Great Star Rib.png 1st Class, Order of the Star (Yugoslavia)

And, from the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Patriarchate of Alexandria:

Distinctions and awards[edit]

Avramopoulos received, in 2006, the “Vincitore Assoluto” Award of the Premio Internazionale “Giuseppe Sciacca”, and has been presented with distinctions by many foreign Cities and Municipalities: Famagusta, Barcelona, Beijing, Beirut, Berlin, Boston, Brooklyn N.Y., Bucharest, Caracas, Chicago, Crotone, Florence, Genoa, Jakarta, Havana, Istanbul, Kyiv, Ljubljana, Los Angeles, Miami -Florida, Massachusetts, Montreal, Moscow, New Jersey, New York, Nicosia, Paris, Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island, Rome, Sofia, State of Illinois, Sydney, Tbilisi, Tirana, Toronto, Valletta, Washington D.C., Xian, Yerevan. He has been honoured with the Honorary Freedom of 40 Greek and foreign cities. In November 2017, he became Honorary Member of the Propeller Club of the United States Port of Piraeus and he received the Award of Excellence of the Propeller Club of the United States Port of Piraeus for his strenuous effort and impact on developing a new European Policy on regular Migration. In December 2017, the Department of International and European Studies of the University of Piraeus awarded Mr. Avramopoulos the first "Themistocles" prize for his contribution to the management of the EU migration and security crisis.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Dimitris Avramopoulos – Dimitris Avramopoulos – Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship". avramopoulos.gr.
  2. ^ Dimitris Avramopoulos Archived 2009-02-18 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Capital Link Forum | Greece In A New Era, Business & Investment Opportunities & the Development of Southeastern Europe Archived 2008-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c Toby Vogel (July 28, 2014), Greece nominates Avramopoulos as European commissioner European Voice.
  5. ^ Nicholas Hirst (December 11, 2014), Who’s who in the digital world European Voice.
  6. ^ "Επιμένουν τα σενάρια για υποψηφιότητα Αβραμόπουλου για την Προεδρία" (in Greek). in.gr. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Κίνηση αποφυγής "γαλάζιου" διχασμού η στήριξη Αβραμόπουλου για την Προεδρία" (in Greek). in.gr. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  8. ^ "EU concerned at new migrant wave from Turkish operation in Syria". France 24. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  9. ^ Greek FM Turkish PM’s friend Hürriyet, 23 June 2012.
  10. ^ @trpresidency (3 June 2019). "President @RTErdogan received..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ @Avramopoulos (3 June 2019). "Fruitful meeting with Minister of..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Entrevue de Jean Asselborn avec le commissaire européen chargé de la Migration, des Affaires intérieures et de la Citoyenneté, Dimitris Avramopoulos, à Luxembourg – gouvernement.lu // L'actualité du gouvernement du Luxembourg". www.gouvernement.lu (in French). Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  13. ^ "Membership". www.khs.org.uk.
  14. ^ "The Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa presented the Stavros Niarchos Foundation with the Grand Cross of Apostle and Evangelist Mark – Stavros Niarchos Foundation". www.snf.org.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Athens
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Minister for Development Minister for Tourism
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Health and Social Solidarity
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for National Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for National Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Greek European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Preceded byas European Commissioner for Home Affairs European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
Succeeded by
Preceded byas European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship