Despina Spanou is the Director in charge of Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity at the European Commission (DG CONNECT). She is leading the work of units on cybersecurity policy and technology, digital privacy, digital health, eGovernment, electronic identification, smart cities, and connected and autonomous mobility.
From 2013 to 2017 she headed the directorate in charge of consumer law and policy including consumer markets, redress and enforcement, as well as consumers’ safety. Previously she served as Principal Adviser the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers and was responsible for reshaping the DG’s communication department and policy, but also overseeing two self-regulation bodies as chair of the Alcohol and Health Forum as well as the Platform for action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. She also represented the health and consumer portfolio as Sherpa at the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain.
She was previously the Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioners for Health Mr. Kyprianou (2004-2008) and Mrs. Vassiliou (2008-2010). During her time at the Cabinet of Health and Consumers, she coordinated food chain issues, including the EU response to the avian flu crisis in 2006, and EU food trade relations with Russia. She also advised on public health policy files, including the first EU action against cancer.
Despina Spanou started her career at the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition after having practised European competition law with the Brussels branch of a US law firm. She is a qualified lawyer and holds a Ph.D in European law from the University of Cambridge.