I came to the LSE to study European Political Economy in 2009, at the start of the economic crisis which would put into question basic assumptions regarding the future of the EU project. Having previously obtained a first degree in economics with course material rooted in mathematical abstractions (many of which were also heavily challenged by the Crisis), it was invigorating to be able to connect with the real world and study the challenges the EU faced in a wide range of policy areas. It was a particular joy to be able to do so in the cosmopolitan environment of the LSE and specifically the European Institute.
‘Developing critical thinking’ may sound like a cliché found in a university brochure - however it is exactly what I found most exciting about my time at the LSE. All the lively conversations inside and outside the classroom offered different viewpoints and insights from people of different backgrounds and ideological leanings. And not only was this open approach promoted by the teaching staff during lectures, it was even reflected in the exams, with questions like ‘The President of the ECB said X. Do you agree?’ What a refreshing approach for someone used to being taught economic principles as if they were laws of physics.
As the darkness of the crisis descended on Greece, being at the EI and studying European Political Economy gave me hope in the potential of Europeanisation to change a country’s path. It was this hope that led me to pursue a career in policy-making, with positions in different ministries and an emphasis on promoting reform initiatives and EU-funded investment projects.
Recently I was appointed as Greece’s Secretary General of Economic Policy and Strategy, a position whose areas of responsibility range from macroeconomic policy design to the cooperation with international economic organisations. The economic growth and political stability Greece currently enjoys make the broader context of my LSE days seem like a distant memory. However, it is beyond doubt that those days played a key role in widening my horizons and shaping my current path.