Mina Andreeva Mina Andreeva

The voice of the European Commission

In Culture
Written by  Graziella Runchina Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:33

She was born in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, grew up in Cologne, did European Studies at Maastricht University (UM) and obtained her LLM in Edinburgh. Mina Andreeva has now spent six years in Brussels, where she works as a spokesperson for the European Commission (EC). It would be hard for someone to feel more European. “Even as a young girl, I dreamt of life in the European political arena.”

 

“Never a dull moment.” This is how the UM graduate sums up her work for the EC – no one day is the same. Andreeva has been one of the three main spokespeople for Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EC, since September 2014. In this way, she helps to give shape to the voice of the Commission.

Long workdays
Her work is difficult to plan: that much becomes clear when the interview is rescheduled three times at the last minute due to unforeseen business. “It’s inherent in the life of an EC spokesperson”, her assistant says by way of an apology. Long workdays, irregular hours, many ad-hoc tasks and never knowing in advance what the news will bring: all these are minor inconveniences that Andreeva takes in her stride. “This is what I’ve always wanted.”

She is especially proud of having found her dream job in such a prestigious organisation as the EC. “The European Commission is the only organisation in the world that holds a daily press conference”, she explains. The famed press conference takes place every day at exactly midday; hence its alias in the corridors as the ‘noon prayer’. “Depending on the political agenda of the commissioners, tens to hundreds of journalists attend every day.”

As spokesperson, Andreeva plays an important role in these press conferences. She regularly holds the conferences herself, and answers questions from hundreds of journalists every day on many different topics. “They range from questions on economic issues to the free movement of people in the EU.” Andreeva helps to prepare and coordinate the EC’s official standpoint on all breaking news relevant for Europe, and communicates this standpoint through interviews with the media. “Speaking many different languages is essential for this job: you have to be able to read foreign newspapers, but also to speak to journalists in their own language.”

Messenger
Her workday begins every day at 6 am, ploughing through a pile of international newspapers. “During our political meeting at 8.30 in Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet, I have to know where the fire is and what issues are at stake. There are different issues in Bulgaria, for example, compared to Greece.”

Andreeva is also spokesperson for several other commissioners in addition to Juncker. “My job is to serve as a messenger between the commissioners and the outside world. Politicians can’t spend 24 hours a day explaining their policies. That’s what they have us for.”

International image
Although she was born in Bulgaria, Andreeva grew up and went to high school in Cologne. “Even as a six-year-old I wanted to be a spokesperson, not that I knew then exactly what the job entailed”, she explains in rapid English. “I always had an opinion on everything, and just felt I was really cut out for the profession.” In search of a study programme, she quickly came across UM.

“Maastricht is in the heart of Europe, is known for the Maastricht Treaty, and has an international image that really appealed to me. I wanted to study in English, so I chose European Studies at UM. The deciding factors were the university’s good reputation and the fact that it was just over the border. Studying in Germany was not an option for me. Education there is very individual and traditional, in contrast to the teaching method at UM. Working in groups, following the principles of Problem-Based Learning and taking responsibility into your own hands – all this was ideally suited to me. I notice that I still apply those skills now in my everyday practice, where we often have to seek solutions in teams.”

Love of Europe
“The best thing about my job is that it allows me to combine my passion for communication with my love of Europe”, she continues. “Europe and its colourful mix of cultures and backgrounds have always been an important part of my life. What better place could there be for me?” 

For Andreeva, it was only natural to apply for a job at the EC after graduating. Together with 360 other candidates, she started a five-month traineeship in Brussels in 2007. One of the few allowed to stay on after the traineeship, she began working as a press officer for the Bulgarian cabinet. In 2012, she became the exclusive spokesperson for the Luxembourg commissioner Viviane Reding, who managed the Justice and Human Rights portfolio. “I travelled a lot, much more than I do now”, she says of those years. “In my current job my place is mainly here, in the press room of the EC’s headquarters in Brussels.” 

Mina Andreeva (1983) was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has worked for the European Commission since 2008, including as spokesperson for Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice. She has been one of the three spokespeople for Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, since November 2014.

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