Prof. Dr. Vassilios Skouris
Lawyer, former President of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) in Luxembourg
DAAD Scholarship 1965–1972
More judges, more disputes and more languages in which legal actions can be filed – the president takes it all in his stride. “It’s all a question of organisation that we have solved well,” said Vassilios Skouris, commenting on the challenges that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg faced with the enlargement of the European Union in 2004. “The leap from the original six to 15 members is not much smaller than the leap from 15 to 25. It’s happening in a way that causes no insurmountable difficulties for the ECJ.”
A German doctorate is certainly an advantage for your later career.
Vassilios Skouris, born in 1948 in Thessaloniki, has been the President of the ECJ since autumn 2003. He had already worked as a judge at the Plateau du Kirchberg since 1999. Before that, from 1989 to 1996, he was Minister of Internal Affairs in his home country. He studied law as a young man in Berlin with the support of the DAAD and followed this up with a doctorate at the University of Hamburg. “A German doctorate is certainly an advantage for your later career,” he emphasises. Later, the former scholarship holder taught public law at the University of Bielefeld. In 1982, he accepted a professorship at the university in his home town of Thessaloniki.
Vassilios Skouris, who was confirmed in office in October 2012, takes a positive view of the tasks faced in an enlarged Europe. “The judges come from various schools, and that’s a good thing. We don’t have any difficulties in communicating with each other because legal problems are the same everywhere.” Recently, one of the Greek intellectual’s most important challenges was the role he and his colleagues played in the dispute over the competences of European Central Bank (ECB). In May 2015, the ECJ, of which he is President, was awarded the 50th Theodor Heuss Prize – as “the guardian of legal unity and the rule of law”, as the Theodor Heuss Foundation put it in the statement explaining their choice.