Monday

17th Jun 2019

New commissioner asked 'rude question' about age

Androula Vassiliou, a former first lady of Cyprus and the country's new EU commissioner-designate, has revealed that she does not like people asking her age.

On Tuesday (8 April), her spokesperson refused to reveal how old Ms Vassiliou is following a journalist's question, saying it was "rude" to ask and inappropriate to speak about a woman's age.

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"In Greek, in our culture, it is a bit rude to ask for a woman's age. So if you insist that much, I would suggest that you do some research on Google and you will find the CV of the commissioner and there you can find her exact age," commission spokesperson Nina Papadoulaki said.

She added: "Honestly, I don't have her age."

Only later did the commission provide media with the required information that Ms Vassiliou's birthday falls on 30 November 1943 - making her 64.

The spokesperson insisted, however, that her secretive tone was not a result of lack of transparency, but only a question of cultural perception. "In general, we neither mention nor publicise the age," she said.

In fact, even the Cypriot would-be commissioner's profile on the official commission website falls short of mentioning her birthday. Similarly, the free encyclopedia Wikipedia also cites only dates related to her legal and political career.

At the same time, eight other female commissioners make no effort to hide their age, with this piece of personal information available on each of their official websites.

The 'rude-question' kerfuffle comes just one day ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on the nomination of Ms Vassiliou as a new member of the commission.

She is to be put in charge of the health dossier, replacing Markos Kyprianou - who left the commission to take on the foreign minister post in Cyprus.

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