Theodoros Pangalos (politician)

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Theodoros Pangalos
Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος
Deputy Prime Minister of Greece
In office
7 October 2009 – 17 May 2012
Serving with Evangelos Venizelos (2011–2012)
Prime MinisterGeorge Papandreou
Lucas Papademos
Preceded byTzannis Tzannetakis (1993)
Succeeded byEvangelos Venizelos
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
22 January 1996 – 18 February 1999
Prime MinisterCostas Simitis
Preceded byKarolos Papoulias
Succeeded byGeorge Papandreou
Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 October 1993 – 8 July 1994
Prime MinisterAndreas Papandreou
In office
5 June 1985 – 26 July 1985
Prime MinisterAndreas Papandreou
Personal details
Born (1938-08-17) 17 August 1938 (age 81)
Eleusis, Greece
Political partyUnited Democratic Left (Formerly)
Communist Party (Formerly)
Panhellenic Socialist Movement

Theodoros Pangalos (Greek: Θεόδωρος Πάγκαλος, born 17 August 1938) is a Greek politician, and leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, responsible for the coordination of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) and the new Economic & Social Policy Committee from 2009 to 2012 [1]

Early life[edit]

Pangalos was born in Eleusis, Greece. He is the grandson of General and 1926 dictator Theodoros Pangalos. Some of his ancestors were of Arvanite origin.[2][3]

Pangalos was member of the left-wing Lambrakis Youth and, in 1964, a candidate for the Hellenic Parliament with the United Democratic Left (EDA). Pangalos opposed the 1967 military dictatorship, and was deprived by the junta of his Greek citizenship in 1968.

Political career[edit]

He became a member of the Communist Party of Greece, rising to its Central Committee, before eventually joining the PASOK socialist party during the Metapolitefsi. He was elected for the first time as a MP in the 1981 general election with PASOK and has been continuously re-elected since until 2012.

Monument at the MCAST campus in Mosta, Malta, which was inaugurated in 1997 by Pangalos while he was Minister for Foreign Affairs

In 1996 he was appointed as a Minister for Foreign Affairs and held the post until his resignation in 1999, in the aftermath of the scandal involving the Kurdish nationalist leader, Abdullah Öcalan: helped by individual members of the Greek intelligence agencies Öcalan entered Greece illegally and was then deported to Kenya, where he was captured by Turkish agents after leaving the Greek embassy at Nairobi.

He was briefly made Minister for Culture in 2000, an appointment which was widely criticized, in view of his previous statement that artists who had protested his handling of the Öcalan affair were 'kouradomanges' (turd tough guys).[4]


In 1989, he threatened "to turn the [Greek] parliament into Beijing,[5] a reference to the recent Tiananmen Square massacre in the face of a political understanding between the Right and the Left for the formation of government. Ten years later, he described the Greek parliament as being composed of "Kenyan delegates" in reaction to the outcry brought about by his mismanagement of the Öcalan affair.[citation needed]

In 1997, he described the Turkish establishment as "murderers, rapists and thieves" in the midst of disagreements over the Turkish candidacy for entry into the European Union.[6][7][8] Six months earlier, Theodoros Pangalos had, in sharp contrast to his later statements, declared that "Turkey certainly belongs in Europe, as it is a part of European history".[7]

When in the course of the global financial crisis of 2007–2010 the Greek state became unable to service its debt, Pangalos demanded reparations from Germany for the war crimes committed during World War II as an alternative to the austerity measures demanded by the nation's creditors. Yet in 2010, he angered Greeks when, responding to claims that the misappropriation of state funds had led to the country's insolvency, he spoke out in favor of austerity measures and accused all citizens with the words "Mazi ta fagame" ("We all ate it together [i.e., we are all responsible for the debt])".[9]

Pangalos has stated on numerous occasions that he fights Greece's corner at every opportunity.[10]

His year then further deteroriated when he was caught stating that Greeks are lazy and Turks are hard workers while on an official visit to Turkey where he was supposed to be promoting Greek banks investing in Turkey. He disputed that he had made these comments or given an interview to Hurriyet accused his accusers of lying. [11] It was later revealed that a Turkish journalist had actually recorded him making the remarks in question.[12]

In 2014, Pangalos insulted Rena Dourou, Syriza's candidate for regional governor of Attica, stating in a radio interview that he could not stand seeing posters of Ms. Dourou’s "filthy face" all over Athens and that he preferred "to see her campaign complete with a full-body picture of her with a bikini."[13]

In popular culture[edit]

A Greek experimental pop band named Plastic Flowers sampled his famous speech 'Mazi ta fagame' in their song 'Sinking ship-vanished crew'.[14][15]


  1. ^ "New Papandreou government Cabinet announced". 6 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  2. ^ Πάγκαλος, Θεόδωρος (1950). Τα απομνημονευματά μου, 1897-1947: η ταραχώδης περιόδος της τελευταίας πεντηκονταετίας.
  3. ^ "Τα Ελευσίνια μυστήρια δύο υπουργών". Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Οι εχθροπραξίες του διαλόγου". Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS - Europe - Athens and Ankara strengthen ties". Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  9. ^ Brabant, Malcolm (25 February 2010). "Greece angers Germany in gold row". BBC News.
  10. ^ "In leaked cable, Pangalos labels Macedonia row 'disaster' -". Ekathimerini. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Pangalos denies 'lazy' comment in Turkey". Ekathimerini. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Deputy PM denies Turkish faux pas". Ekathimerini. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  13. ^ Suzanne Daley; Dimitris Bounias (26 September 2014). "A Greek Politician Willing to Face the People". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Natural Conspiracy, by Plastic Flowers". Plastic Flowers. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  15. ^ "I Upset My Least Favourite Big Fat Greek Minister". 20 May 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Karolos Papoulias
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
George Papandreou
Title last held by
Tzannis Tzannetakis
Deputy Prime Minister of Greece
Served alongside: Evangelos Venizelos (2011–2012)
Succeeded by
Evangelos Venizelos