Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

Penelope Papavassiliou was born and raised in Lefkosia. She attended Kykkos Α’ lyceum. She studied Economics (BSc Industrial Economics) at the University of Warwick (UK) and Business Administration (MSc in Business Administration — MBA) at City University Business School (UK).

She has many years of professional experience as a career technocrat in positions of responsibility in both the Cypriot Public Administration and the European Commission, in issues pertaining to the economy, development, labour, European issues, coordination and design of policies and reforms and in project management.

She started her career in public administration in 1997 as an Officer at the Planning Bureau (now Directorate General Growth, Ministry of Finance) in the technocratic coordination team of Cyprus’ accession negotiations with the EU, where she worked until 2004. She then served in the Permanent Representation of Cyprus in Brussels (2005-2006), on Research and Innovation issues, and promoting the Digital Agenda, representing the Republic of Cyprus in the respective groups of the EU Council. She served as Head of the Office of the Minister of Finance for 4 years (April 2006 — March 2010) and a senior member of the Secretariat of the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU (2010-2013). She also served as a senior executive member in the coordination team of the government work and implementation of the Cyprus Economic Adjustment Programme (2013-2014) (Directorate General Growth) and Head of the Working Group for the Insolvency Framework (March 2014 - August 2015). She also participated as coordinator in the Ad Hoc Group of Preparation for the Implementation of the Community Acquis, in the framework of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem (September 2015 - March 2016). Since April 2016, she worked for the European Commission, at the Directorate-General for Structural Reforms (DG REFORM) in Athens, as Head of projects on issues of business environment and in the project evaluation team.

Her partner is Phidias Vardakis.