While most in Brussels are discussing the Spitzen candidates of the European political families for the 2019 European election, certainty over Greece’s political future has its EPP member party, New Democracy, testing the water with potential candidates.
Of course New Democracy would first have to win the next elections, and at worst govern with a coalition partner that doesn’t demand the position for itself as compromise – but these are defining details.
For the longest time, the de facto next candidate for the European Commission from Greece was considered Dora Bakoyiannis. The former foreign minister is certainly qualified, but the fact that she is sister of New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is working against her as the two have an on-going political feud.
The whispers in Brussels, combined with a few recent visits, seem to be favouring a return to the Eurocapital of former Prime Minister and Brussels connoisseur Antonis Samaras. Samaras has strong ties to European leaders, and good ties to both the upper echelon of the EPP, and the European Commission.
Interestingly, the cardholder is the incumbent Commissioner of Greece, Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has without a doubt had to handle the hardest portfolio during the migration crisis. Avramopoulos, who very nearly became President of Greece in 2015, is a very powerful political figure in Greece, and would likely be rewarded with a Vice-Presidency in a second term. Eventually, the phone call from Mitsotakis will come, and Avramopoulos will have to make the ultimate decision as to what happens next: does he stay in the European Commission, or does he return to Greece, to help rebuild the country as part of the expected Mitsotakis government. The likely position if he were to return could be that of Deputy Prime Minister with the Foreign Affairs or Defence portfolios yet the avenues remain unexplored as of yet.
Kassandra understands that the discussion is yet to take place, but perhaps the fact that Avramopoulos may be snagged for a top job at an international organisation may force the talks to begin sooner rather than later…