Professor Yannis G. Valinakis

Yannis G. Valinakis is currently President of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence at the University of Athens, Jean Monnet Professor ad Personam, and a member of the Executive Board of the W.Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels.

Academic Career

Born in Athens in 1955, Yannis Valinakis studied Law at the University of Athens and Political Science at the University of Heidelberg. He completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Sorbonne – Paris I (DEA in International Politics, DEA in Defense Policy, DEA in History of International Relations) and received his Ph.D. (with honours) from the same University, in 1981. He became Assistant Professor at the University of Thrace Law School in 1983, Professor of International Relations at Athens University in 1992, Jean Monnet Professor in European Diplomacy in 1996 Dean of the Law School at Neapolis University and Jean Monnet Professor Ad Personam in 2013.

Professor Valinakis has taught at the National Defense School, the Centre for Diplomatic Studies, the National School of Public Administration and at various Greek and foreign universities. He has published widely in five languages in the fields of European and International affairs and Strategic Studies. His major works are: Exiting the Crisis; Realistic Proposals, Papazisis Publ., Athens: 2014; Greece’s European Policy Making, London: Hellenic Observatory European Institute 2012; Greek Foreign and European Policy, Athens: Sideris 2010; International Relations and Strategy in the Nuclear Age, Thessaloniki: Paratiritis 2001; The Black Sea Region: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe, Paris: Western European Union Institute for Security Studies, 1999; Greece’s Security Policy in the Post Cold War Era, Ebenhausen, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 1994, etc.

Research-Related Positions 

Professor Valinakis served as Director General (1990-1998) of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Director General of the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence (2000-2004). He worked as Resident Fellow at the Institute for East-West Studies in New York (1982-1983), as Senior Fellow at the Institute for Security Studies of the European Union (Paris 1997-1998), Visiting Senior Fellow at the European Institute (London School of Economics (2011-2012), and other prominent research institutions. 

He has also worked as a senior consultant to international organizations (such as the EU, the WEU and BSEC) and to Greek and other governmental bodies. He has also served as a member of international Commissions. He is member of the International Committee of Experts of Fondation Chirac in Paris (since 2011) and member of the Editorial Board of the “European View” journal (since 2005). 

He was Member of the Planning Staff at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991-93) and he served as an Advisor to the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs (1983-86).

Political Career

Professor Valinakis also followed a political career for more than a decade. First in the opposition, as Advisor in European and International Affairs to the Nea Demokratia Party leader K. Karamanlis, and as Secretary of International Relations and European Affairs of this Party (1998-2004).  He was also elected member of the Political Bureau of the European People’s Party (EPP), member of the Executive Committee of the European Democrat Union (EDU) and member of the Executive Committee of the International Democrat Union (IDU). 

After the national election of 2004, he became Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-2009), responsible for Political and European Affairs, and Member of Parliament (for the Dodecanese Region, 2007-2009). As Deputy Minister he served as Greece’s chief negotiator in all major European multilateral negotiations, including on the European Constitutional and (later on) Lisbon Treaty (2004-2008), the EU 2007-2013 Budget, and the Union’s enlargement negotiations.

In his ministerial capacity, he participated in more than 40 EU ministerial meetings (GAERC – General Affairs and External Relations Council) and in more than 40 Ministerial Meetings of the NATO, The Council of Europe, OSCE, Black Sea Cooperation Council, South East European Cooperation Process, Mediterranean Forum; he substituted for the Foreign Minister or the Prime Minister in a large number of  Ministerial/ Heads of State-Government Euro-Mediterranean, EU-GCC, EU-Asia, EU-ASEAN, EU-Latin America, EU-Africa and Southeast European Cooperation Process Meetings.

As Minister, Prof. Valinakis also initiated the “Olive Group” (and participated in more than ten informal ministerial Meetings of the EU’s 12 Mediterranean Member-States; he co-initiated the Group of 18 like-minded countries in the framework of the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013 negotiation, Meetings of the European Affairs Ministers on EU Maritime Policy, the informal Group Friends of the German Presidency to support efforts towards a new EU Treaty, etc. He also participated in more than 20 ministerial Meetings of European Affairs on Communicating Europe. Finally, he negotiated and signed on Greece’s behalf the Accession Treaties to the EU of Bulgaria and Romania and several SAA Agreements of the Union.

Decorations and Distinctions

In 2013 he was honored by the European Commission with Jean Monnet Chair ad Personam, in 1995 with the Jean Monnet Chair in European Diplomacy and in 2000 and in 2010 with the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. Yannis Valinakis also holds numerous international state decorations (including by the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, China, Denmark, Norway etc) and distinctions. 


He is fluent in English, French and German and has a working knowledge of Spanish, Italian and Russian. 

He is married to lawyer Christina Haratsari and is the father of a daughter, Christianna, LLM Queen Mary University.