AAt­th­heennss pplleeaasseedd wwi­it­thh mmi­ig­gr­raat­ti­ioonn ppoor­rt­tf­fool­li­ioo,, ‘‘hhoott ppoot­taat­too’’ ssaayyss ooppp­poos­si­it­ti­ioonn

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The coali­tion gov­ern­ment seems to be pleased with the ap­point­ment of Dim­itris Avramopou­los as com­mis­sioner for Mi­gra­tion and Home Af­fairs in Jean-Claude Juncker’s new Coun­cil. Although the ap­point­ment is con­sid­ered a sign of trust to­ward Athens, the op­po­si­tion thinks that Greece just re­ceived a “hot potato”, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by EurAc­tiv.gr.

A ca­reer diplo­mat and a for­mer for­eign min­is­ter, Avramopou­los was the third can­di­date for the lead­er­ship of the New Democ­racy party in 2009. He with­drew his can­di­dacy at the very last mo­ment, ex­press­ing full support for PM An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, who was elected ahead of Dora Bakoy­an­nis to lead the cen­tre-right party cur­rently in power in Athens. The cen­tre-right PM seemed to be quite sat­is­fied with the mi­gra­tion port­fo­lio.

Juncker’s decision is an “ex­cep­tional hon­our for Greece, and an im­por­tant sign of the trust in our coun­try”, Sa­ma­ras pro­claimed. He re­ferred to Juncker as a “friend”, adding “this is a com­pletely new port­fo­lio that was cre­ated from scratch in or­der to un­der­line the need to pri­ori­tise mi­gra­tion in Euro­pean pol­i­tics. The recog­ni­tion of the need to com­bat the il­le­gal mi­gra­tion has al­ways been a pri­or­ity for the Greek gov­ern­ment.”

“This port­fo­lio is a re­ward of a long and painstak­ing ef­fort to take Euro­pean ac­tion in or­der to ef­fec­tively tackle the prob­lem.”

The Greek PM was also pleased with the ap­point­ment of Mar­gari­tis Schi­nas as the new EU ex­ec­u­tive’s spokesman, call­ing him “wor­thy and ex­pe­ri­enced”.

Schi­nas, for­mer MEP of cen­tre-right New Democ­racy, has been head of the Task Force in Greece since May 2013. In 2010, he also served as Deputy Di­rec­tor of the Bureau of Euro­pean Pol­icy Ad­vis­ers of Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent José Manuel Bar­roso.

But Syriza MEP Dim­itris Pa­padi­moulis crit­i­cised the com­po­si­tion of the new EU ex­ec­u­tive, say­ing that de­spite hav­ing greater po­lit­i­cal character than Bar­roso’s “colour­less” one, the new com­mis­sion will con­tinue on the path of its pre­de­ces­sor.

He noted that the “pyra­mid”.

“In­stead of hav­ing 28 equal com­mis­sion­ers, [Juncker] de­cided to ap­point seven first cat­e­gory vice-pres­i­dents to mon­i­tor the rest sec­ond cat­e­gory com­mis­sion­ers,” he told ra­dio sta­tion Al­pha. Re­gard­ing the mi­gra­tion port­fo­lio, Pa­padi­moulis stated that Avramopou­los must re­alise that he just took in his hands a “hot potato”. “This post is in­deed im­por­tant and in­ter­est­ing. But Avramopou­los will have a head [to mon­i­tor him] Ms Mogherini,” he said, adding that the Greek com­mis­sioner will not have “full re­spon­si­bil­ity”.

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