Karolos Papoulias

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Karolos Papoulias
Κάρολος Παπούλιας
Karolos Papoulias.jpg
President of Greece
In office
12 March 2005 – 13 March 2015
Prime MinisterKostas Karamanlis
George Papandreou
Lucas Papademos
Panagiotis Pikrammenos
Antonis Samaras
Alexis Tsipras
Preceded byKonstantinos Stephanopoulos
Succeeded byProkopis Pavlopoulos
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 October 1993 – 22 January 1996
Prime MinisterAndreas Papandreou
Preceded byMichalis Papakonstantinou
Succeeded byTheodoros Pangalos
In office
26 July 1985 – 2 July 1989
Prime MinisterAndreas Papandreou
Preceded byIoannis Charalambopoulos
Succeeded byTzannis Tzannetakis
Member of the Hellenic Parliament
for Ioannina
In office
20 November 1977 – 7 March 2004
Personal details
Born (1929-06-04) 4 June 1929 (age 91)
Ioannina, Greece
Political partyPanhellenic Socialist Movement
Spouse(s)Mary Panou
ChildrenFani, Vicky and Anna
Alma materUniversity of Athens
University of Milan
University of Cologne

Karolos Papoulias (Greek: Κάρολος Παπούλιας [ˈkarolos paˈpuʎas]; born 4 June 1929)[1] is a Greek politician who served as President of Greece from 2005 to 2015.[2] A member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), he previously was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1989 and again from 1993 until 1996.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Karolos Papoulias was born in Ioannina and is the son of Major general Gregorios Papoulias.[4][5] He obtained a Law degree from the University of Athens, a master's degree in Public International Law and International Relations from the University of Milan, and a doctorate in Private International Law from the University of Cologne. He is an associate of the Munich Institute for Southeast Europe. Apart from his native Greek, he also speaks French, German and Italian. A former pole-vault and volleyball champion, Papoulias has been chairman of the National Sports Association since 1985. He is also a founding member and until recently president of the Association for the Greek Linguistic Heritage.[6]

He was active in the left-wing EPON youth as a young man.[7]

Karolos Papoulias is married to Mary Panou and has three daughters.[6]

Role in PASOK, parliamentary and government offices[edit]

Papoulias was a founding member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and a close associate of its leader Andreas Papandreou. Since December 1974 he was continually elected to the PASOK Central Committee. He was also member of the Coordination Council, the Executive Bureau and the Political Secretariat, as well as Secretary of the PASOK International Relations Committee from April 1975 to 1985. For a number of years he was also a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Socialist and Progressive Parties of the Mediterranean.[6]

He was first elected to the Greek Parliament in 1977 for Ioannina, and held his seat continuously through the subsequent legislative elections until his 2004 election as President of the Republic. He held several high offices during the PASOK cabinets:[6]

  • Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, from 21 October 1981 to 8 February 1984.
  • Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs, from 8 February 1984 to 5 June 1985 and again from 5 June 1985 to 26 July 1985.
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs, from 26 July 1985 to 2 July 1989.
  • Alternate Minister for National Defence, from 23 November 1989 to 13 February 1990 in the ecumenical government of Xenophon Zolotas .
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs, from 13 October 1993 to 22 January 1996.

Papoulias as Minister for Foreign Affairs[edit]

In the 1980s, Papoulias played a key role in trying to reach a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He mediated a safe departure of trapped Palestinian militants and Yasser Arafat from Lebanon on board Greek vessels in 1983.

He created diplomatic relations with the Arab world and achieved, among other things, the normalization of relations between Greece and Egypt and the establishment of tripartite cooperation between Iran, Armenia and Greece. He held talks with a total of 12 Turkish Foreign Ministers to normalize Greco-Turkish relations. This resulted in the signing of the Papoulias-Yılmaz memorandum in 1988.

He supported Turkey's European aspirations conditional on their respect for international law and European Union values.

In the period 1993–1996 and particularly at the crucial Essen Summit he played an important role in starting accession talks between the Republic of Cyprus and the European Union.

President Karolos Papoulias with Prime Minister George Papandreou in November 2011

As president-in-office of the European Union and member of the contact group for the former Yugoslavia he worked to bring about a resolution of the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He signed the Interim Agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, aiming at the establishment of better relations between that country and Greece.

He was very interested in relations between Greece and the Balkan states and it was upon his initiative that the first meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Balkans was organized in Belgrade in 1988. There, he began talks with Bulgaria and the then Soviet Union on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

He was responsible for the signing of the protocol of mutual civil and military assistance with Bulgaria in the 1980s. He restored friendly and neighbourly relations with Albania by ending the state of war between that country and Greece.

Papoulias has been supportive of any step towards détente, peace and disarmament e.g. the "Initiative of the Six" for peace and disarmament, the participation of Greece in the Conference on Disarmament and Peace in Europe and in the Conference for the Abolition of Chemical Weapons, his proposals to create a nuclear-free zone in the Balkans and the promotion of the idea of making the Mediterranean a sea of peace and cooperation. The JANNINA 1 tripartite cooperation conference, between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, was his idea and he was a strong supporter of the Black Sea Conference, which he also chaired.

With his visit to Washington in 1985 and the return visit of Secretary of State George Shultz, he revitalized Greek-American relations which had gone through a delicate phase during the previous years.

Arms as knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim (Sweden)

Election to the Presidency[edit]

On 12 December 2004, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, leader of the governing New Democracy party, and George Papandreou, leader of the PASOK opposition, nominated Papoulias for the presidency, which is chosen by the Parliament. On 8 February 2005, he was elected by 279 of 300 votes to a five-year term. He was sworn in as the 6th President of the Third Hellenic Republic on 12 March 2005, succeeding Konstantinos Stephanopoulos. After securing the support of the two major political parties, he was re-elected to a second and final term on 3 February 2010 with a parliamentary majority of 266 votes.[8] His presidential term ended in March 2015 and was replaced by Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who was elected Greece’s new president in a parliamentary vote in February 2015.[9]



  1. ^ Profile of Karolos Papoulias
  2. ^ Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Opinion: A new era for Athens | DW | 06.07.2015". DW.COM. Retrieved 2021-01-19. Karolos Papoulias was president of Greece from 2005 to 2015. He also served two terms as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. ^ Turner, B. (2017-01-12). The Statesman's Yearbook 2009: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. Springer. p. 551. ISBN 978-1-349-74027-7.
  4. ^ Robert I. C. Fisher (2012). Fodor's Greece: With Great Cruises and the Best Island Getaways. Fodor's Travel Publications. p. 308. ISBN 978-0-307-92916-7.
  5. ^ Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Psychology Press. p. 1284. ISBN 978-1-85743-217-6.
  6. ^ a b c d "President". Greek Government. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  7. ^ Α.Ε., tovima.gr — Δημοσιογραφικός Οργανισμός Λαμπράκη (2011-10-28). "tovima.gr - Ματαιώσεις και επεισόδια στις παρελάσεις σε όλη τη χώρα". TO BHMA (in Greek). Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  8. ^ Ζήτησε συναίνεση, κέρασε κρασί. To Vima (in Greek). Lambrakis Press Group. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Prokopis Pavlopoulos is elected next president of Greece".
  10. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 1923. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  11. ^ "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". kongehuset.dk (in Danish). 2017-12-12. Retrieved 5 May 2019.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ioannis Charalambopoulos
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Tzannis Tzannetakis
Preceded by
Michalis Papakonstantinou
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Theodoros Pangalos
Preceded by
Konstantinos Stephanopoulos
President of Greece
Succeeded by
Prokopis Pavlopoulos