Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0.5 0.5 0.5 2.5 3




Affirmation Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0


  • There is very limited recognition of minorities in Greece (Dallas and Magkou 2013). 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.” As Triandafyllidou and Kokkali (2010, 4) describe, “the main concept and perspective adopted in Greece to deal with cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is that of integration, while notions such as tolerance, acceptance, respect or recognition are more or less absent from the relevant debates. Yet, integration is used rather loosely to refer more often than not to assimilation and much more rarely to a mutual engagement of the different groups to form a cohesive society.”
  • Part of the push toward integration is rooted in the country’s geopolitical history. As Gogonas (2010, 5) describes, “Greece’s resistance to acknowledge the existence of minorities within its territory can be seen as the result of the fact that most of them have been identified with territorial claims by neighbouring countries with which geo-political relations have always been tense” (see also Rozakis 1996). 
  • Although multiculturalism may not be embraced, there are legal protections pertaining to equality in Greece. The Constitution states that “all persons living within the Greek territory shall enjoy full protection of their life, honor and liberty irrespective of nationality, race or language and of religious or political beliefs” (quoted in Open Society Justice Initiative 2018, 50). The government also passed anti-racism legislation in 2014 (Law 4285/2014), which criminalized the denial of genocide, hate speech, and xenophobia.
  • 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.).
  • Although policies pertaining to migration are determined at the national level, cities and municipalities have played an increasingly important role when it comes to immigration services, social cohesion, and integration since 2010 (Anagnostou 2016). At the municipal level, multiculturalism is rather absent from policy. City policies generally do not explicitly focus on diversity, except, as Maloutas et al. (2014) describe, when it comes to EU-funded projects and activities. However, the development of Immigrant Integration Councils (IICs) at the municipal level in 2010 is an important development in terms of immigrants’ engagement in local politics (see Sarris 2012). The councils, which principally consist of city councillors and representatives from various immigrant organizations or communities, serve as an advisory body to other municipal authorities on matters related to immigration. The function of these councils, however, is principally integrationist, and tend to be less visible than other councils at the municipal level (Maloutas et al. 2014).


    Only weakly.

School Curriculum Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0.5 0.5


  • 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, Marioleni 2016). As Triandafyllidou and Kokkali (2010, 3) observe, “In education there have been efforts to train teachers in intercultural pedagogy and receptions classes are provided for non-Greek speaking pupils but overall there is no concerted effort to accommodate cultural and religious diversity in school life. Difference is mainly seen as a ‘problem’ of the foreign children. The ideal outcome is their assimilation into the rest of the school population.”
  • 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; see also Parthenis and Markou 2015). 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 26 cross-cultural schools, which provide instruction to students with various social, cultural, or religious identities for up to four hours per week (Palaiologou and Faas 2012; Eurybase 2008b; Trouki 2012). 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.
  • Palaiologou and Faas (2012) note that “intercultural education often borders to assimilation, with emphasis on learning Greek language and culture, ignoring languages of minority pupils and their cultural backgrounds. Interculturalism within schools therefore promotes the recognition of the cultural diversity usually through folkloristic celebrations without moving toward acceptance of different cultures and religions.”


    Yes, although it is a somewhat weak commitment.

Media Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0.5 0.5


  • 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.
  • Compendium of Cultural Policies in Europe Reports dating back to 2007 note substantial minority representation in Greek media. The ERT, which had a large minority and immigrant viewer base, had a mandate to broadcast programs that promote diversity and counter racism and xenophobia (Dallas and Magkou 2013). The ERT broadcast programs in 12 languages and “collaborates with the official communities of foreign residents in Greece and supports their cultural activities… Some radio time has occasionally been provided for live broadcasting cultural events of immigrant groups” (UNESCO 2012). The ERT was shut down in 2013 amidst the financial crisis (Iosifidis and Boucas 2015) but reinstated in 2015.
  • 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.”
  • Despite some of these supports for diversity in Greek media, The Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom notes that when it comes to social inclusiveness, Greece’s media sector is considered to be at “high risk” because private and public media broadcasters are “not obliged to broadcast content for minorities or content that is created by minorities” (Kandyla and Psychogiopoulou 2016, 8). Radio and television broadcasting are mainly required to offer Greek-language programming, and this is considered a major impediment to offering diverse, accessible programming for minorities. The exception to this rule is in Thrace, where these laws are “silently not implemented for local radio in the region” (Kandyla and Psychogiopoulou 2016, 8). 
  • 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 no evidence that journalism students are yet being trained to work in Greece’s increasingly multicultural society.


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

Exemption Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0


  • 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 anysignificant amount of public outcry on such matters. This is still the case in 2020: no national, regional, local, or institution bans on face coverings or religious clothing have come into effect in the country.
  • 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 15 months of public service (War Resisters International 2020).
  • 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.
  • Even still, Collet and Bang (2018), find no evidence of prohibiting religious dress or symbols in Greek public schools. They suggest, however, that this may be due in part to the concentration of Muslims and minority schools in Thrace.



Dual Citizenship Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 1 1


  • 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.” Mandatory military service for male citizens under 45 is a requirement of Greek citizenship, which can serve as a deterrent for some potential applicants (Peddicord 2019)
  • Even though Greek citizenship is still principally defined by ethnicity, culture, and religion, some legal changes in 2010 are creating more opportunities for second generation migrants to acquire citizenship (Triandafyllidou and Kokkali 2010). Law 3838/2010 permits migrant parents of children born in Greece to declare them Greek citizens if they so choose, and children born abroad to migrant parents can qualify for citizenship after completing six years of schooling and living in Greece.



Funding Ethnic Groups Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0


  • There are few ethnic minority organizations in Greece (Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2005, 17-18). 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. Organizations where they do exist are generally focused on practical matters and there is little room to build associational support for cultural activities. It is also noted that immigrants’ participation in “mainstream” organizations is virtually non-existent (Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2005).
  • As noted previously, most local-level multicultural projects or events are those funded by the EU, and city-level IICs are principally focused on integration (Maloutas et al. 2014). Papadopoulos and colleagues (2013, 355) note that, in addition to the challenges they faced amidst the economic crisis, many immigrant organizations’ “social networks are of limited capacity and do not really connect them with the wider Greek society.” In effect, many groups are not able to network effectively with social groups and businesses that would allow them to have a greater impact on policy.



Bilingual Education Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5


  • Government policy explicitly promotes the learning of Greek by immigrant children (Dallas 2007). While school policy in Greece has increasingly centered on internationalization, there is no mention of mother-tongue instruction as a core element of supporting students from diverse backgrounds (Eurydice 2020a).
  • Where language is mentioned in curriculum guidelines and other government documents, it tends to pertain specifically to immigrants’ learning of Greek. As Gogonas (2010, 7) states, “immigrant pupils’ languages are completely absent from the school curricula, while these pupils are expected to cope with English and French or German in addition to Greek (both Modern and Ancient). Despite legal measures to address the effects of immigration in schools, immigrant pupils are subject to assimilation pressures in practice, since none of the governmental measures that have been implemented encourages the maintenance of ethnic identity and parental language.”
  • There is support for Turkish language education for the official Muslim minority in Thrace (National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010, 54-55). 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 variousinternational cultural agreements, rather than an outgrowth of a specific multiculturalism policy (Mercator 2019).
  • All of this aside, 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.”


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

Affirmative Action Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5


  • 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; Warikoo and Allen 2019; Library of Congress 2015).
  • 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).
  • Law 364/08 outlines a quota for the employment of minorities in the public sector but no measures thus far have been taken to implement the quota (Library of Congress 2015). 
  • 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).