Plans to institute a new Ministry for Civil Protection had to be put on ice on Tuesday after the prime minister’s choice to head the new body turned down the job.
Government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said that the civil protection authority will remain under the jurisdiction of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry and will be supervised by the current secretary general for civil defense, until a replacement is found for Evangelos Apostolakis.
The retired admiral and former defense minister under the leftist SYRIZA government from January to July 2019 turned down the position shortly after the cabinet reshuffle was announced on Tuesday.
“Mr. Apostolakis proved unworthy of the circumstances and was cowed by SYRIZA’s threats,” Oikonomou said in scathing remarks shortly before the new cabinet was to be sworn in.
Oikonomou indicated that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had handpicked the former head of the Greek armed forces – who would have been responsible for crisis management but also for fire-fighting – for the post due to his extensive operational experience and know-how, but also in a bid to build consensus with the opposition.