Greece to Propose Margaritis Schinas as Its New European Commissioner

European Commission's Vice-President Margaritis Schinas. (Photo by MotionTeam/Yorgos Konstantinidis)

With a long career in European institutions and a leading role during the escalation of the debt crisis in 2015, the Commission’s current Chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas is the Greek government’s proposal for its representative in the European Commission.

Schinas has in the last five years been the point of reference for all journalists in Brussels as chief spokesperson and the personal choice of outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the job. From this position, he participated in all the behind-the-scenes processes that took place during the crisis, managing to serve his institutional role even when Greece was facing the threat of leaving the euro.

He was one of the main sources of information for President Juncker on Greek affairs, especially about the political balances in the country, but also about the state of Greek society.

With a gift for communications and a sense of humor, Schinas was dealt with the press effectively during some of the most critical moments of the Juncker Commission. Beyond the negotiations for Greece – where conflicting interests created battle lines between EU countries as well as between European institutions – Schinas had to deal with issues such as Brexit, the unprecedented refugee crisis as well as other sensitive issues concerning the Commission.

Schinas devoted his studies and career to the European perspective. Born in Thessaloniki in 1962, he studied law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Public Administration and Policy at the London School of Economics. He was one of the first Greeks to attend the College of Europe in Bruges with a scholarship from the Ministry of National Economy, and was a research scholar in the framework of the Robert Schuman programme in the European Parliament.

Since 1990 he has served in the offices of foreign EU commissioners and in 2004 he became the director of the office of the first Commissioner of Cyprus to the European Commission, Markos Kyprianou.

In September 2007, he was elected MEP with New Democracy, replacing Antonis Samaras.

In 2010, he was appointed Deputy Director of the Office of European Policy Advisers by the then President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, while in 2013 he was appointed coordinator on behalf of the European Commission by all the groups that provided technical assistance to Greece.