Stelios Kympouropoulos was born on 9th July 1985 in Athens, Greece. He is a Greek psychiatrist and politician of the New Democracy party who has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament since the 2019 elections.
At the age of 14 months, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. At the age of 15, his case became the benchmark to change the law on equality for flag bearers in school parades. In 2003, Kympouropoulos was admitted to the Department of Medicine of the National And Kapodistrian University Of Athens, from where he received his degree in medicine in 2010, with honours. From 2013 to 2015, in parallel with his specialty, he attended postgraduate seminars on the subject of human psychosexual disorders. In 2014, he received a master's degree in "Mental Health Promotion - Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders". In 2016, he received a degree in psychiatry.
Do you consider yourself a person of contribution since you have decided to participate actively in the political scene of Greece?
For those citizens who have an active role in society, it is believed that what they do is vital for the betterment of society. Every politician is aiming to improve the lives of his/her fellow citizens for a better tomorrow. Through effective policy-making, as politicians, we can provide the next generation with a better future. This is my goal and I am aiming for this contribution.
What is activism for you?
Activism is a natural choice for me and it consists of efforts to make changes in society toward a perceived greater good. Disability is a major characteristic of my political identity and it highly defines me. Thus, my activism is not against democracy or against any legally elected government, it is against the stereotypes and the continuous segregation and barriers that disabled people face in every single place on this planet.
What was your incentive to study medicine?
Medicine and politics have a common ground. They aim to make our world a better place. One by treatment and the other by establishing policies. So, that was the incentive behind all my choices - hope to be able to offer a better tomorrow.
What are the periods in your life you have enjoyed mostly childhood or adulthood?
I remember my childhood with love and great respect for my family. They have supported me and been there for me every single moment. When I needed someone to turn the pages in my schoolbooks, when I needed someone to take me to the university, to lift me up the stairs when the building was inaccessible. But I feel gratitude for my adulthood as well. I set goals and I am trying to achieve them. This is a kind of progress and self-evolution which is very important to me. I feel grateful for the vote and trust of the Greek people. Thus, I treasure every period of my life.
Could you tell us about your dreams at a personal and professional level?
My dreams are quite simple. I want to be healthy and be able to live my life the way I want. Moreover, I imagine having my own family which will also lead to becoming a father. On the other hand, I want to find the balance between personal and professional life and that is not easy, because, when we talk about professional life, I tend to be a perfectionist. So, in my professional life what I dream of, is the ability to contribute to society irrespectively either I am a physician or a politician. My basic concern is to build up a connected team in which we work together and every member of it supports the process.
Why do you believe the citizens don’t feel financially secure?
During the financial turmoil that started in the United States in 2008, many countries experienced a prolonged financial crisis. Several businesses were shut down, the number of well-paid jobs has decreased and unemployment has increased as well. Also, the extent of financial aid given by the state of each country in several cases was reduced. These were the conditions that citizens were experiencing when they confronted the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020. A crisis, which we must not forget, led to a reduction in the income of many households and caused serious psychosocial problems. So, all these factors, I believe contributed to the financial insecurity that some citizens feel today. Undoubtedly, we have been through a decade of successive crises and lack of socioeconomic and political stability, and this is what we are now called upon to manage effectively.
Do you have a positive or negative outlook on life?
I usually positively look at life. I believe in people and their potential. Life is the most beautiful and precious gift we have in our hands, and we must enjoy it, with a respect to ourselves, other people, and the natural environment. Of course, some moments trouble me and make me more thoughtful. In life, it is impossible not to face difficult situations, which will cause us fear, anxiety, sadness or pain. But all these feelings are part of our nature. In fact, many times these feelings help us make important transitions, and help us make the next important step.
Do you believe health care is a right or a privilege? Should people receive the same services in healthcare?
As a politician, as a doctor and as a disabled person, I have been and Ι will always be vertical on this issue. Access to quality healthcare services should not be a "privilege" for the few. The preservation and promotion of human health is a recognised social right, and in fact, a fundamental right. All people should be able to live a full life in health and dignity.
Is the new generation mature enough to proceed into voting in addition to becoming a change maker?
I cannot judge if the new generation is mature or able to change our society. That would be arbitrary on my part. Surely, the new generation can contribute to any change in our society. They have a high educational level, multiple interests and sensitivities on climate change, human and social rights. These characteristics and their impulse can work beneficially for their communities. If the new generation wished to contribute creatively to the change of policies at a national and international level, it should prioritise these interests and propose solutions with moderation. The sterile rejection of society and its structures is not a proposition. Change in the negative aspects of the economic, social and development model of previous generations will be achieved by having a viable long-term plan. The generation of the 60s and 70s had a vision and believed in many changes, but these were without a plan and caused multiple problems, which we are still facing today. Therefore, the new generation will have to deal with politics, take advantage of the experience of the older ones and participate in the changes without negativity. We do not need an overthrow but a reshaping of our societies.
Greece is at the crossroads of different cultures and civilisations. Could its geopolitical position influence and play a major role in international politics?
Greece, of course, can have an important geopolitical role. Thanks to its geographical position, strong shipping, participation in the most important international and transnational organisations, and strong negotiation and defence capacity. Since its foundation, Greece has been a reliable ally and partner with unique loyalty to the principles of the Western World. In the coming years, Greece will continue to be the EU's cooperation bridge with the Middle East, it will further upgrade its role as an energy hub, and it will strengthen its defence capabilities to protect Western and European interests in the Mediterranean and to assist our Balkan allies. Greece was, is, and will be, a factor of stability, power and progress. This is the greatest advantage of our country.
Most people tend to have a cynical view about politicians. What do you think Greece as a nation can do to elect better people to office?
The politicians of a state are a reflection of the wishes of the people. Politicians come from the people and have the characteristics of that people. When we complain about the quality of our political staff, we should remember two things. First, when we vote, we must vote with our minds and not with our emotions. Second, we must support complete proposals and not slogans.
If you had to rewrite the history of our country, Greece, what would be the title?
By doing a little historical review of the course of our nation, we will find that we have travelled a successful course. We were a country that started as a former Ottoman possession and within two hundred years, we succeeded in increasing our area, standing on the side of the victors in two world wars and the cold war. We avoided the communist oppression that our neighbouring countries experienced. We joined NATO and the EU. We emerged stronger from multiple international political and economic crises. We have a modern, liberal, multi-party democracy. We have achieved political stability with strong constitutional and political institutions. Modern Greece began in 1821, as a vision - the success of which no one could guarantee. The odds were against us. Yet, two hundred years later, we have succeeded. The Greek Nation, with the Greek state is still here, ever stronger with an international presence many times its size. We owe it to the struggles and sacrifices of our people, to our industriousness and creativity. Greece is an exceptional case of a state. Through the chaos of wars, crises, foreign occupation, civil wars, with constantly hostile neighbours, we not only survive but also progress. If a title had to be composed, it would be "Greece, the Unexpected Success".
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