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Greek deputy minister on a special mission

Featured Greek deputy minister on a special mission

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexandra Papadopoulou, former ambassador of Greece in Washington is returning to Athens in a new role, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A staff Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, "from the very bosom of the ministry", as the new head of Greek diplomacy Giorgos Gerapetritis characteristically mentioned.

The goal, as initially described by Gerapetritis at the handover ceremony and it remains to be seen how it will be implemented in the next period, is to have a deputy minister from the service, "so as to express the continuity of the state and the continuity of foreign policy". An "official" deputy minister who will not be a politician, but a diplomat, according to the British model, who will be able to exercise a role of liaison between the political leadership and the services.

The responsibilities of Alexandra Papadopoulou, according to information, will be those that until today belonged to the general secretary, of a political nature of course, and will concern all the actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the general secretary of the ministry not being abolished, but taking on a more administrative role. The placement of Papadopoulou will be a gamble for her as well, since it starts as a clearly political choice, with the aim, however, of exploiting the institutional characteristics of her status as a diplomat.

A key figure

In reality and beyond the headlines, at a time when Greece aspires to re-open the dialogue with Turkey, while at the same time continuing to claim the expansion of its foreign policy horizons, with the aim of becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council UN in the period 2025-26, Alexandra Papadopoulou will be the key person of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alongside Gerapetritis.

A person of the absolute trust of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he contributed decisively as the ambassador of Greece to the USA to build the ever-strengthening Athens-Washington relationship, in the shadow of the challenges created for the West after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also in the period of 2020 when the tension in Greek-Turkish reached extremes.

Her contacts in the US are characterized as "strong" and "valuable" and are expected to be utilized from her position as Deputy Foreign Minister. After all, her contribution to Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing the Congress in 2022 is considered to have been decisive.

A pragmatist, when referring to Greece's relations and alliances with foreign countries, she always reminds her interlocutor that each country moves primarily based on its own interests. He recognizes Turkey's role in the region, knows not to underestimate it, and has never put Greece's alliances in the balance with the relations they have with Ankara.

In Vilnius, on the sidelines of the NATO Summit, the next moves to consolidate the good climate are expected to be planned, with Athens wanting to set the established dialogue tables, which are estimated to help maintain contact and avoid – as possible – tensions.

Maintaining the balance in Greece-Turkey relations will be a bet to which Papadopoulou will be asked to contribute in the coming period, while it remains to be seen whether she will be the one who will also assume the responsibility of conducting the political dialogue with Turkey, the responsibility for which the governor had until recently of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A diplomat who knows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the inside is now called upon to act as the staff deputy minister and to maintain balance beyond international relations and inside the ministry.