ATHENS, Greece — Theodoros Pangalos, a former Greek overseas minister identified for his undiplomatic outbursts and on whose watch Greece suffered one in all its most embarrassing overseas coverage debacles in 1999, has died. He was 84.
Pangalos’ household mentioned on Twitter that he died on Wednesday “peacefully at dwelling, surrounded by his household and shut associates.”
Caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas’ workplace expressed condolences, as did different main Greek politicians. A press release from Sarmas’ workplace praised the “dynamic and decisive” former minister who stood out for his “sharp and substantial mind.”
Born on Aug, 17, 1938, Pangalos was the grandson of a former Greek army dictator. He studied regulation in Athens and economics in Paris, was concerned in left-wing politics and actively opposed the brand new army regime of 1967-1974.
He turned a senior official within the Socialist Pasok get together, based by Andreas Papandreou, that dominated the political scene in many of the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties, however inherited the nation’s monetary disaster in 2009 and steadily imploded — along with the general public funds.
It was through the early phases of the disaster, amid deep revenue cuts, hovering unemployment and livid anti-austerity protests, that Pangalos uttered the phrase for which he’ll maybe be most remembered, and has been broadly reviled.
“The reply to the opprobrium the nation’s politicians face from individuals asking ‘how did you squander the cash?’ is that this: ‘We gave you public sector jobs. All of us ate from the trough,” Pangalos mentioned in Parliament in 2010.
“It was all within the framework of a relationship of political clientelism, corruption, bribery and debasement of the very that means of politics,” he added.
On the time, he was deputy prime minister within the Socialist authorities of George Papandreou — Andreas’ son — and his feedback have been condemned as cynical, unfair and insensitive. On the identical time, his defenders argued that he had provided a harsh however largely correct epitaph to 3 a long time of Greek politics, by which he had performed a big half.
Pangalos went on to jot down a ebook referred to as “All of us ate from the trough,” however by no means held public workplace after 2012.
He had a protracted historical past of unguarded remarks, having managed, as overseas minister within the Nineteen Nineties, to offend Germany — which he in comparison with a “large with a toddler’s mind” — and Turkey, after he referred to Turks as “thieves and rapists.”
Days after Pangalos turned overseas minister in January 1996, Greece and Turkey got here to the brink of struggle over two uninhabited jap Aegean Sea islets, often called Imia in Greece and Kardak in Turkey. Turkish commandos captured one in all them as the 2 nations’ navies congregated to the spot, however left underneath a U.S.-brokered settlement.
A higher embarrassment got here in 1999, when neighboring Turkey’s most wished fugitive, Abdullah Ocalan, the pinnacle of the secessionist Kurdistan Employees’ Celebration (PKK), was smuggled into Greece with out the federal government’s information. Greece’s overseas ministry made a ham-handed bid to do away with the new potato by sneaking Ocalan in another country and making an attempt to cover him within the Greek Embassy in Kenya. The key was badly stored, and Ocalan was ultimately delivered to Kenyan authorities, ending up on a airplane to Turkey the place life imprisonment awaited him.
Aside from the Overseas Ministry, Pangalos held a succession of presidency posts, together with the tradition portfolio, underneath Andreas Papandreou and in different Pasok governments.
Heart-right former Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is anticipated to win a common election on June 25, praised Pangalos on Wednesday for his “intelligence, cosmpolitanism, humor and braveness,” and extolled his dedication to Greece’s place within the European Union in addition to his contribution to Cyprus’ EU accession.
Pangalos is survived by his 5 youngsters. No funeral preparations have been introduced.