EC press office restructured with rookie comms chief and fewer 'spokespersons'

Jean Claude Junckers, the new president of the European Commission, has appointed Margaritis Schinas, a Greek politician and former EU official with no communications experience, as the new head of the press office.

Margaritis Schinas: Former MEP gets top EC comms role
Margaritis Schinas: Former MEP gets top EC comms role

The appointment is part of a complete overhaul of the EC press office, known as the 'EC Spokespersons' service, designed to support Junckers’ strategy to make the commission and its commissioners more accessible to journalists.

In an apparent paradox, Junckers has reduced the number of "spokespersons" in the 100-strong EC Spokespersons service from 40 to 15 and installed new senior managers.

Schinas will be assisted by former EC press officers Natasha Bertaud and Mina Andreeva as deputy chief spokespersons.

They were not available for comment.

The number of press officers remains unchanged at 30, despite the reduction in spokespersons.

According to an EC insider, the intention is to make it harder for commissioners to depend on the spokespersons to do the talking for them.

A source said: "This new system will ensure more political communication and visibility for the commission. By reducing the number of spokespersons, more commissioners will have to go to the press room to defend and explain their decisions."

LSE-educated Schinas was a member of the European Parliament from 2007 to 2009, representing the centre right group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (PPE-DE).

In April 2013 he was appointed a director at the Commission's Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs.

Koen Doens, the former head of the spokespersons service, has been appointed as director of human and society development in the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation.

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