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Queen's University
 

Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies


Greece

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TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0.5 0.5 2.5


1. Constitutional, legislative or parliamentary affirmation of multiculturalism at the central and / or regional and municipal levels and the existence of a government ministry, secretariat or advisory board to implement this policy in consultation with ethnic communities

   No.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Avramopoulou et al. (2005) argue that attitudes toward immigration in Greece are generally quite negative and while there have been some attempts to inject ideas about compassion and inclusion into the debate, the main policy thrust is toward greater restrictions; concerns about integration are rarely implemented in any definitive program. 
  • Avramopolou et al. (2005, 8-9) note that the government’s “main goal is to encourage migrants to integrate by learning the language, culture, history and traditions of Greece. There is little to no investment in adapting the host country (Greek society) to the presence of the increasing cultural diversity, or to protect immigrants’ rights.” They suggest that Greece has few programs in place to help immigrants integrate and that the issue is often set aside because Greece’s Directive on long-term residence comes into effect in 2011. Integration and cultural diversity have thus been viewed as problems for the future. 
  • Social inclusion of immigrants is referred to as a “main priority” in Greece’s National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2011, and it is noted that a National Committee for Social Inclusion of Immigrants has been struck. However, few specifics are given, and there is no reference to multiculturalism (Government of Greece 2008).
  • From an institutional perspective, the Ministry of the Interior is the lead department on immigration issues. The ministry includes an Aliens and Immigration Directorate and sends a representative to the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia. The ministry also oversees two Immigration Committees that respond to requests for residence permits (Avramopolou et al. 2005). It does not appear that the government provides any significant role to ethnic communities in the development of policy, although the Greek Forum for Immigrants, which is a network of the country’s immigrant associations, has worked to become more active in policy debates (ibid.).


2. The adoption of multiculturalism in school curriculum

   Only weakly.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • There is an arms-length institution, the Special Secretariat for Intercultural Education, which was created by the Ministry of Education in 1996. It has created several intercultural or multicultural education programs. While these programs target immigrant and non-immigrant students, they tend to emphasize immigrant children’s integration into Greek society, as well as the learning of Greek language and culture (see Dallas 2007, 13 and 36).
  • Greece’s curriculum guidelines include compulsory courses on social and civic education as well as on foreign languages; the goal is “to raise pupils’ awareness on issues such as diversity, religious differences, gender equality, peaceful co-existence, multiethnic societies and economic immigrants” (Eurybase 2008b, 225). Courses on social and civic education aim, in particular, to reinforce “pupils’ national identity [by] examining national and European cultural heritage … without ethnocentric or racial bias. Emphasis is placed upon the conscious acceptance of difference and the implementation of ideas such as human rights, co-existence, respect for different cultures, multilingualism, multiculturalism, democracy, and peace” (Eurybase 2008b, 225). These courses are only taught in some primary school grades. An upper class in sociology also aims to improve students’ awareness of “the modern multi-cultural European reality” (Eurybase 2008b, 226).
  • Since 1996, Greece has also operated 25 cross-cultural schools, which provide instruction to students with a “particular social, cultural or religious identity” (Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs 2010; see also Eurybase 2008b). The curriculum in these schools is adapted to meet students’ needs, and the teachers receive training in cross-cultural education as well as the teaching of Greek as a second language. The schools are attended by native- and foreign-born students, but they appear to be largely facilitative, in that they have adapted standard methods and curriculum in an effort to assist immigrant and minority students; they are not designed to inject multiculturalism into mainstream teaching.


3. The inclusion of ethnic representation / sensitivity in the mandate of public media or media licensing

   Yes, although it is a somewhat weak commitment.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0.5

Evidence:

  • ERT is Greece’s public broadcaster. It has an educational and cultural agenda and its mission is “to develop public radio and television through the production of high quality programmes which promote impartial and full information, diversity, entertainment, preservation of historical memory, promotion of Greek and world culture, and eradication of xenophobia and racism” (quoted in Dallas 2007, 15). Although not an explicit requirement for ethnic representation, the mission statement does indicate a general commitment to programming that is reflective of diversity and sensitive to the needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Greece also has a radio station, Radio Cosmos, that specializes in ethnic and multicultural music (Dallas 2007). Still, Dallas (2007, 27) notes that “private TV channels cannot be said to have a cultural agenda.”
  • There are policies against racism and xenophobic stereotyping in the media, including those outlined in the Code of Journalistic Ethics and the Code of Ethics for Information and Other Journalistic and Political Programmes, although as Dallas (2007) points out, there is not evidence that journalism students are yet being trained to work in Greece’s increasingly multicultural society.


4. Exemptions from dress codes (either by statute or court cases)

   No evidence of exemptions, but neither does there appear to have been much public debate on these issues.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Although the Greek Orthodox Church is the largest denomination in Greece, Islam has been recognized officially as a minority religion; most Muslims are concentrated in the region of Thrace. The wearing of religious symbols and headgear does not appear to have caused much controversy in Greece. Although evidence of specific exemptions could not be found, neither was it apparent that there has been any significant amount of public outcry on such matters.
  • With respect to military service, there is a mandatory minimum requirement in Greece. Although conscientious objection is allowed, individuals who avail themselves of this option are required to submit to a period of 23 months of public service, which is nearly twice the required duration of service for active soldiers (War Resisters International 2008).
  • In 2000, “religious denomination” was removed from Greece’s national identity card, a move that sparked protest and which suggests that religion remains an important marker in Greek society.


5. Allows dual citizenship

   Yes.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 1

Evidence:

  • Law 2910/2001 on Entry and Stay of Aliens in Greek Territory, Acquisition of Greek Citizenship by Naturalisation and Other Provisions does not mention any prohibition on dual citizenship, and foreign nationals who acquire Greek citizenship may retain their prior nationality (Howard 2005). This is a recent development, however; prior to 2001, foreign nationals who acquired Greek citizenship were required to renounce their other nationality. 
  • Moreover, Greek citizenship is based on jus sanguinis, and Avramopoulou et al. (2005, 5) suggest that many consider it to be the “most hard-to-get citizenship of all EU countries.”


6. The funding of ethnic group organizations or activities

   No.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • A report on immigrants’ civic participation in Greece finds that while there are several immigrant and minority associations, overall participation in these organizations is quite weak. The insecurity of immigrants’ status and a lack of funding and resources were acknowledged as the primary reasons. It does not appear that the government provides any significant support to ethnic groups or associations nor does it appear to involve them in any systematic way in state institutions or policy development. Indeed, it is noted that immigrants’ participation in “mainstream” organizations is virtually non-existent (Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2005).


7. The funding of bilingual education or mother-tongue instruction

   No.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Government policy explicitly promotes the learning of Greek by immigrant children (Dallas 2007). In the 2008-2011 National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, it is noted that “the first Greek learning project has been announced in the framework of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013 with a budget of 14 million euro related to 3,670 individuals. The main objective of the suggested action is teaching the Greek language to immigrants, repatriated immigrants, refugees and other unemployed from vulnerable social groups (seeking asylum, victims of trafficking), since insufficient knowledge of the Greek language inhibits their social inclusion” (Government of Greece 2008).
  • Where language is mentioned in curriculum guidelines and other government documents, it tends to pertain specifically to immigrants’ learning of Greek. The only specific mention of bilingual instruction is in reference to programs in foreign schools that offer Greek courses for expatriates living abroad; here, instruction is provided in Greek and the mother tongue of the expatriate student (Eurybase 2008b). Such programs do not appear to be offered in Greece.
  • There are 200 minority schools in the region of Thrace, which has a high Muslim population. Although instruction is provided in both Turkish and Greek, this is a result of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and pursuant to various international cultural agreements, rather than an outgrowth of a specific multiculturalism policy (Eurybase 2008b). 
  • In 1997, a Programme for the Education of Muslim Minority Children was developed in an effort to improve educational outcomes; this included the production of trilingual dictionary software (English/Greek/Turkish) although again, the clear aim is on facilitating the learning of Greek (Eurybase 2008b).
  • All of this aside, a recent report (Ktistakis 2008, 47) notes that “apart from Turkish language used in parallel with Greek in schools for Muslim minority children in Thrace, no other native language of migrant or minority children is used in public education in Greece. Apart from the Muslim minority teachers, who teach systematically Turkish in the minority schools in Thrace, no other case of migrant or minority teacher teaching foreign languages and/or culture, or even working as an assistant in Greek public schools were located.”


8. Affirmative action for disadvantaged immigrant groups

   Very limited, but supported in principle by constitutional provisions and case law.

SCORES
Year: 1980 2000 2010
Score: 0.5 0.5 0.5

Evidence:

  • In addition to anti-discrimination measures, there are at present, positive action measures that target women and Muslim minorities in the region of Thrace. The latter is a result of the Treaty of Lausanne and pertains, in particular, to a 0.5 percent quota for the admission of Muslim students to Greek universities (Ktistakis 2008).
  • Still, in a recent report on measures to combat discrimination in Greece, it is noted that Article 116.2 of the revised Greek Constitution, as well as Articles 21.3 and 21.6 guarantee, in effect, the principle of proportionate equality. While the revised provisions were intended to target women, article 116.2 is characterized as “all-inclusive, laying down a state obligation to act through positive measures for the elimination of all kinds of ‘inequalities’, a term that undoubtedly pertains to discrimination on racial or ethnic grounds as well” (Ktistakis 2008, 53).
  • In addition, Greek case law has supported the implementation of affirmative action measures aimed at women and this, along with the new constitutional provisions “should certainly be regarded as a basis for the establishment of positive action by Greece in favour of racial and ethnic groups” (Ktistakis 2008, 55).

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