Panos Kammenos

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Panos Kammenos
Πάνος Καμμένος
Panos Kammenos.jpg
Minister of National Defence
Assumed office
23 September 2015
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Preceded by Ioannis Giangos
In office
27 January 2015 – 28 August 2015
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Preceded by Nikos Dendias
Succeeded by Ioannis Giangos
President of Independent Greeks
Assumed office
24 February 2012
Preceded by Position established
Personal details
Born Panagiotis Kammenos
(Παναγιώτης Καμμένος)

(1965-05-12) 12 May 1965 (age 53)
Athens, Greece
Political party New Democracy (Before 2012)
Independent Greeks (2012–present)
Spouse(s) Eleni Tzouli
Children 3 boys and 1 girl
Alma mater University of Lyon

Panagiotis "Panos" Kammenos (Greek: Πάνος Καμμένος, Greek pronunciation: [panaˌʝotis ˌpanos kaˈmenos]; born 12 May 1965) is a Greek politician and the founder of the right-wing party "Independent Greeks", which formed the governing coalition of the Hellenic Parliament with the Syriza Party after Kammenos met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, on 26 January 2015.[1]

He was named Greece's Minister of National Defence on 27 January 2015.[2] He served until 20 August 2015, when the Syriza-ANEL coalition resigned, and continued as a lame duck until 28 August, when he was succeeded by the interim Minister, Ioannis Giangos. He again became Minister of National Defence on 23 September 2015 when the Syriza-ANEL coalition was re-created following the election of 20 September 2015.

Early life and career[edit]

Kammenos was born in Athens, Greece. He studied economics and psychology at the University of Lyon Business Administration School of Managers. In 1993, he was first elected Member of Parliament in the New Democracy in the Second District of Athens.[3]

Independent Greeks party[edit]

On 24 February 2012, through his personal social networking sites, Kammenos announced the establishment of the new party called "Independent Greeks (ANEL)"[4] and published the Declaration.[5] Yiannis Manolis directly expressed its intention to join the new party format. He expressed support for Elena Kountoura, Panagiotis Melas and other MPs.

He wants to eliminate a large part of Greece's debt, which is equivalent to 175 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.[6]

Kammenos and the Independent Greeks take a hardline stance against illegal immigration into Greece.[7]

The Independent Greeks and Kammenos are Eurosceptics.[8] He has walked the halls of Greek Parliament wearing a T-shirt that said, "Greece is not for sale."[9]

2015 elections[edit]

With 3.7% of votes won in the snap elections,[10] Independent Greeks, the junior coalition partner in Tsipras’s last government, entered the parliament. Panos Kammenos formed a government with Tsipras and Syriza.

Institute of Geopolitical Studies[edit]

Panos Kammemos in 2013

Kammenos co-founded with his friend, University of Thrace professor Filippos Tsalidis, Athens-based Institute of Geopolitical Studies. In November 2014 Institute signed a "memorandum of understanding" with the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI). RISI was part of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service until it was brought under the office of the Russian president in 2009.[11]

Awards[edit]

He has been honored with the Grand Cross of Merit from the Primate of the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church, the Medal of Honor Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Order of Knight of the National Order of Merit by the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2007, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Mercantile Marine, Aegean and Island Policy in the government of Kostas Karamanlis, Minister and politician where the head was Georgios Voulgarakis. He was sometimes involved as an expert mediator and an official observer in elections in foreign countries.

Political positions and controversies[edit]

Kammenos accused the former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou of treason. He said that the Hellenic Postbank, a public banking arm of the Greek government, oddly purchased a $1.3 billion worth of credit default swap (CDS) to insure against a default of the Greek government in spring and summer of 2009 (so indirectly, the government bought protection against its own default), and those CDS was then subsequently sold in December 2009 to a private firm named IJ Partners for $40 million. Naturally, as the Greek debt crisis was getting progressively worse, the CDS in question was probably worth $27 billion in June 2011.[12]

Kammenos has stated that "Europe is governed by German neo-Nazis".[8] He has also called German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble persona non grata because of war reparations that Kammenos demands from Germany.[13]

In December 2014, Kammenos stated on television that Greek Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim religious institutions do not pay taxes (in contrast to the Church of Greece, which was exempted from income taxes beginning in 2004 and whose clergy benefit from state salaries, but also began paying property taxes on its non-monastic, non-worship space properties in 2011[14]) as part of a comment on actions or perceived policies of the Antonis Samaras government with which he disagreed:

...Here we are looking at the Orthodoxy, which Mr. Samaras invokes in his article, the government should make up its mind about the other issues that were against the Church of Greece. Cremation, agreement with same-sex union, these are the positions that the present government took, the government of Samaras, which arrives and calls out most definitely that there should be taxation only on the Orthodox religion, here the Buddhists, the Hebrews, the Muslims don't pay, the Orthodox Church pays; indeed the monastic establishment is in danger, too...[15]

The remark was condemned by Greece's Jewish community and government officials, who called it "conspiracy theories, lies and slander”.[16]

In March 2015 Kammenos said that "If they deal a blow to Greece, then they should know Greece will suspend the Dublin II treaty, and migrants will get their ID and documents and will travel to Berlin". He also stated that "If Europe leaves us in the crisis, we will flood it with migrants, and it will be even worse for Berlin if in that wave of millions of economic migrants there will be some jihadists of the Islamic State too” and threatened that Greece would "give to migrants from everywhere the documents they need to travel in the Schengen area."[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Kammenos is described as "a devout Orthodox Christian."[19]

He is the owner of Iliatoras of London, a 60 feet yacht (18m). The yacht was purchased by his father in 1993 using an offshore shell company for tax avoidance purposes.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alderman, Liz (26 January 2015). "After Victory at Greek Polls, Alexis Tsipras Is Sworn In and Forms Coalition Government". New York Times. New York. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Greek cabinet unveiled, Varoufakis confirmed finance minister". Reuters. London. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Panagiotis (Panos) Kammenos". Athens: Hellenic Parliament. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (26 January 2015). "Independent Greeks: Who are Syriza's right-wing coalition partners and what do they want?". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Independent MP announces new party". Athens News. 24 February 2012. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Squires, Nick (26 January 2015). "Greek election: who are Independent Greeks?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Right-wing party promises Syriza support in Greece coalition". Deutsche Welle. Berlin/Bonn. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Smith, Helena; Ian Traynor (27 January 2015). "Greek PM Alexis Tsipras unveils cabinet of mavericks and visionaries". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Duperry, Odile (27 January 2015). "Kammenos: from conservative rebel to Greek PM's unlikely ally". Agence France-Presse. Paris. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Independent Greeks Party wins 3.7% of the vote". Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Coalson, Robert (28 January 2015). "New Greek Government Has Deep, Long-Standing Ties With Russian 'Fascist' Dugin". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Greek Tragedy and CDS in question". Business Insider. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  13. ^ Smith, Helena (18 July 2013). "Security tight in Greece as German finance minister Schäuble arrives". Business Insider. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "In Greece, church's tangled ties with government raise questions". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Δελτίο τύπου 15/12/2014 [The president of Indpependent Greeks Panos Kammenos on the Antenna TV Morning ANT1 with George Papadakis]. ΠΡΩΙΝΟ ΑΝΤ1. Ο ΠΡΟΕΔΡΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΝΕΞΑΡΤΗΤΩΝ ΕΛΛΗΝΩΝ ΠΑΝΟΣ ΚΑΜΜΕΝΟΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΚΠΟΜΠΗ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΤΕΝΝΑ ΤV «ΠΡΩΙΝΟ ΑΝΤ1» ΜΕ ΤΟΝ ΓΙΩΡΓΟ ΠΑΠΑΔΑΚΗ (in Greek). 15 December 2014. Event occurs at 14:03 (20:38 minutes in). Antenna TV. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Politician who said Jews don't pay tax appointed as Greece's defense chief". Haaretz. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Greece's warnings of a 'migrant flood' faces backlash from Europe". Ethnos. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Greece's defence minister threatens to send migrants including jihadists to Western Europe by Bruno Waterfield, The Daily Telegraph, 9 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Greece and geopolitics: A semi-guided missile". The Economist. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Prosecutors to probe Kammenos for tax evasion over yacht". www.ekathimerini.com. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Nikos Dendias
Minister of National Defence
2015–present
Incumbent