National security takes center stage


In line with the pre-election pledge to modernize Greece’s national security apparatus, which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had reiterated at the recent meeting of the Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), the government on Thursday appointed Vice Admiral Alexandros Diakopoulos to the new post of national security adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office. Diakopoulos will also be the KYSEA secretary, tasked with coordinating issues of national security.

Meanwhile, Panagiotis Kontoleon was named the new head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP).

Kontoleon, a former executive at security services company G4S, will replace Yiannis Roubatis after his term expired.

According to a statement issued by Maximos Mansion Thursday, “the government has set the modernization of the country’s security policy as a basic priority.”

For this reason, it said, the post of national security adviser will serve as a link between the prime minister and the Defense Ministry.

“It was deemed an urgent need… This is why [the government] selected an official with great experience and undisputed capabilities like Vice Admiral Alexandros Diakopoulos,” the statement read.

It said that the same concerns also informed the appointment of Kontoleon as the new chief of a restructured EYP.

“On the same grounds, the government is undertaking the modernization of EYP with the aim of tackling traditional threats, as well as new dangers such as cyberwar and the interconnection between terrorist and criminal activity on a global scale and with geopolitical repercussions/dimensions,” the statement said.

The statement said that by choosing Kontoleon to be EYP director it is emulating the practice of intelligence services in other countries that are headed by people who did not have prior careers there.

The effort to restructure EYP was also boosted with the appointment of three deputy directors – Vasilios Grizis, Dionysis Melitsiotis and Anastasios Mitsialis.

Seeking to send a message of continuity within the Greek state, especially in the field of intelligence, Mitsotakis thanked the outgoing Roubatis for his service and for the briefings he was given while he was in the opposition.