Giorgos Papakonstantinou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from George Papaconstantinou)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Giorgos Papakonstantinou
Giorgos Papakonstantinou portrait crop.jpg
Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
In office
17 June 2011 – 17 May 2012
Prime MinisterGeorge Papandreou
Lucas Papademos
Preceded byTina Birbili
Succeeded byGregory Tsaltas
Minister of Finance
In office
7 October 2009 – 17 June 2011
Prime MinisterGeorge Papandreou
Preceded byYannis Papathanasiou
Succeeded byEvangelos Venizelos
Personal details
Born (1961-10-30) 30 October 1961 (age 57)
Athens, Greece
Political partyPanhellenic Socialist Movement
Spouse(s)Jacoline Vinke
Alma materLondon School of Economics
New York University
WebsiteOfficial website

Giorgos Papakonstantinou (Greek: Γιώργος Παπακωνσταντίνου), born October 30, 1961[1] in Athens, Greece, is a Greek economist and politician and former Minister for the Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Greece and former Minister for Finance. He is currently working in an advisory capacity in the private sector.

Education and career[edit]

He graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE). He later obtained a Master of Arts in Economics from New York University and a PhD in Economics from LSE.

After his studies, he worked as a senior economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris from 1988 to 1998.

In 1998, Papakonstantinou returned to Greece and was appointed an adviser to then-Prime Minister Costas Simitis on "information society" issues.

Two years later, he was appointed Special Secretary for the "Information Society" at the Ministry of Economy and Finance (2000–2002). Between 2002 and 2004 he served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisors of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as a board member of OTE (Hellenic Telecommunication Organization), and as the Greek representative to the European Union's Economic Policy Committee (EPC). In 2003 he coordinated the "Lisbon Strategy" for economic and social reforms during the Greek Presidency of the EU.

Between 2004 and 2007, Papakonstantinou served as economic advisor to George Papandreou, the president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). He was also a board member of the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies, PASOK's think tank, from 2005 to 2008.

Between 2003 and 2007, Papakonstantinou also taught economics at Department of Management Science and Technology of the Athens University of Economics and Business and advised the European Commission on research and information society issues, participating in various international research projects.

Political career[edit]

In May 2005, Papakonstantinou was elected a member of the National Council of PASOK. In September 2007, he was elected member of the Hellenic Parliament to represent the district of Kozani,[2] and was subsequently appointed PASOK's Press Spokesman in March 2008.

Papakonstantinou headed PASOK's list of candidates for the European Parliament in the 2009 European elections and was elected MEP in June 2009. In October 2009 he was appointed Finance Minister in the government formed by Papandreou, the former prime minister, after the national elections.[3]

As Finance Minister, he revealed that the Greek deficit was much larger than what was reported by the previous government, and when Greece was shut out of international markets, he negotiated a €110bn loan agreement for Greece with the EU and the International Monetary Fund, together with a programme of severe fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. During his tenure, he overhauled the budget process, instituting a medium-term fiscal framework with expenditure monitoring and assessment mechanisms, and an independent statistical authority; embarked on tax reform, with legislative and organizational changes to combat tax evasion; implemented a wide-ranging program of structural reforms in product, service and financial markets; and designed a large-scale and wide-ranging privatization strategy. When he left office, the public deficit was more than 6 percentage points of GDP lower than upon his appointment, while Greece had recovered half the competitiveness lost since Eurozone entry and was named the OECD country with the fastest pace of structural reforms.

In June 2011, Prime Minister George Papandreou reshuffled the government and appointed him Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, a post he kept in the government of Lucas Papademos until he handed over to a caretaker Minister in May 2012. In the field of environment, he accelerated the closure of uncontrolled landfills; revamped the waste management and recycling systems; helped implement a large number of water management projects co-funded by EU Structural Funds; advanced the completion of land and urban planning and of the national cadastre. In energy, he brought legislation to liberalize the energy market; oversaw a large increase of Greece's renewable energy capacity and presented a road map for energy policies to 2050; spearheaded ambitious renewable energy projects, such as Project Helios for exporting solar energy; pursued Greek participation in international gas routes; and brought forward the exploration of Greece's hydrocarbon potential.

He was one of a number of Papademos' cabinet who failed to be re-elected in the May 6, 2012 General election that saw PASOK lose almost 120 seats in the house.

Following the elections, Papakonstantinou has faced a parliamentary investigation into the handling of the so-called Lagarde list, containing information on the deposits of roughly 2,000 Greek citizens at HSBC bank's Geneva branch, which he asked for and received from French authorities in 2010. While Papakonstantinou asked the Greek tax authorities to investigate the list, they failed to do so. In late 2012, prosecutors asked for a fresh copy of the Greek list and compared it to the one they had, they found that three names were missing from the list, all relatives of Papakonstantinou.[4] Those allegations resulted in his expulsion from the PASOK political party.[5] He has consistently denied all charges and claims he is being made a scapegoat for the inaction of others on this issue as well as for the public's need to punish politicians for the austerity policies in Greece.[6] In 2015, a Special Court convened for this case and composed of 13 judges drawn from the two highest Greek courts unanimously cleared him of the breach of faith charge, concluding that there had been no damage to the State from his actions. At the same time, with an 8 to 5 majority by the court, he received a suspended misdemeanour conviction for the tampering charge.[7]

In 2016 he published a book in which he told his story as finance minister of Greece when the debt crisis unfolded.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Papakonstantinou is married to travel writer Jacoline Vinke [nl]. They have two sons, Nicolas and Stefanos.


  • "Minister's Curriculum Vitae". Minister for Finance. Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  1. ^ "MEP profile - Giorgos PAPAKONSTANTINOU". European Parliament. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  2. ^ "Curriculum Vitae of George Papakonstantinou". George Papakonstantinou website. Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  3. ^ "New Papandreou gov't Cabinet announced". ANA-MPA. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Greek ex-minister expelled for 'protecting relatives'". 29 Dec 2012. Retrieved 28 Dec 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Smith, Helena (2015-03-24). "Former Greek finance minister given suspended sentence over 'Lagarde list'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  8. ^ Papaconstantinou, George (2016-05-26). Game Over: The Inside Story of the Greek Crisis (1 ed.). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781530703265.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Yannis Papathanasiou
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Evangelos Venizelos
Preceded by
Tina Birbili
Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
Succeeded by
Gregory Tsaltas