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APPROACHES FOR ADDRESSING CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN GREECE
ANNA TRIANDAFYLLIDOU & RUBY GROPAS ELIAMEP
EMILIE - A European approach to multicultural citizenship: Legal, political and educational challenges. EMILIE is a three-year research project funded by the European Commission Research DG, Sixth Framework Programme (2006-2009).
Relevant information about this report: Report prepared for the Project: EMILIE - A European approach to multicultural citizenship: Legal, political and educational challenges [Contract no. CIT5-CT-2005-028205] Deliverable D8, National Integrated Reports Fieldwork for this report was conducted during 2006-2009. This version: 18 July 2009 Words: For more information, contact: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 .................................................................................................................6 Setting the stage: understanding migration towards Greece...................................6 CHAPTER 2 .................................................................................................................9 Cultural Diversity in Greek Public and Political Discourses...................................9 2.1 Historical Legacies and Contemporary Challenges.............................................9 2.2 National Identity and Difference .......................................................................11 2.3 Migration and the Nation ...................................................................................14 2.4 The Athens Mosque controversy .......................................................................16 2.4.1 The debates in the Press..............................................................................17 Table 1: Thematic analysis of the press coverage on the mosque construction ..17 2.4.2 The debates in Parliament...........................................................................21 2.4.3. Concluding Remarks: A Common Discourse between the Press and the Political Elites ......................................................................................................23 2.5 The reaction to the Danish cartoon event in Greece ..........................................24 Table 2. Overview of newspaper articles on the cartoon debate by thematic cluster and date. ...................................................................................................24 2.6 Conclusion .........................................................................................................27 CHAPTER 3 ...............................................................................................................28 Greek Education Policy and the Challenge of Migration. An Intercultural View of Assimilation............................................................................................................28 3.1 Introduction........................................................................................................28 3.2 The Greek educational system: New pedagogical orientations since the 1980s29 3.3 Greece’s immigrant school population ..............................................................30 Table 3. Breakdown of foreign and repatriated pupils in Greek public schools during the academic year 2006-07.......................................................................31 3.4 Research Design and Methodology ...................................................................32 Table 4. Interview guide used to Interview Policy Makers in Greece, EMILIE. 33 3.5 Findings..............................................................................................................35 3.5.1 Intercultural education policy: origins and development............................35 3.5.2 Assessing the methods and tools of intercultural education .......................42 3.5.3 The meanings and practices of inter-cultural education in Greece.............44 3.6 Concluding remarks and policy recommendations............................................50 Annex I to Chapter 3: List of interviews .............................................................52 Annex II to Chapter 3: Discussion group: Meeting with teachers, headmasters, researchers and students on intercultural education in Greece ............................52 Annex III to Chapter 3: Overview of the Greek Education system .....................54 CHAPTER 4 ...............................................................................................................55 Discrimination in the Workplace and the Challenge of Migration.......................55 4.1 Introduction........................................................................................................55 4.1.2 Research methods and methodology ..........................................................57 Table 4. Interview Guide .....................................................................................57
4.2 Discrimination and inequality............................................................................58 4.2.1 The challenge of discrimination in the workplace: an overview ................58 4.2.2 Defining discrimination ..............................................................................59 4.2.3 Perceptions of discrimination and inequality in Greece .............................61 4.3 Immigrants and discrimination in the Greek labour market ..............................63 4.3.1. Immigrant insertion in the Greek labour market........................................63 Table 5. Employed Population in Greece by nationality and professional status (2001)...................................................................................................................64 Table 6. Distribution of Insured Population by Nationality in the Business and Construction sectors (March 2007)......................................................................65 Table 7. Distribution of Insured Population by Economic Activity and Nationality in the Business and Construction Sectors (March 2007) ..................66 4.3.2 Discrimination against immigrants in the Greek labour market .................66 4.5 The legislative framework of anti-discrimination in Greece and its enforcement ..................................................................................................................................69 4.5.1 The legal framework ...................................................................................69 4.5.2 Specialised actors in the field of employment: competences and lacunae .71 Table 8. Complaints at a Labour Inspectorate in Northern Athens .....................73 4.5 Other challenges of enforcement .......................................................................75 4.6. Concluding remarks and policy recommendations...........................................77 Annex I to Chapter 4: List of Interviews .............................................................80 CHAPTER 5 ...............................................................................................................81 Political Challenges Arising From Migration Related Diversity...........................81 5.1 Introduction........................................................................................................81 5.1.1 Research methods and methodology ..........................................................83 Table 9. Interview Guide .....................................................................................83 5.1.2 Political participation of third country nationals: an overview of the conceptual arguments for and against..................................................................85 Table 10. Voting rights for third-country nationals in EU-member states ..........87 5.2 Immigration and participation in public life .....................................................88 5. 2.1. Co-ethnic immigration to Greece..............................................................88 5.2.2. Participation in Public Life ........................................................................89 5.2.3. Naturalisation.............................................................................................90 Table 11. Acquisition of Greek citizenship by EDTO holders (1998-2007).......91 5.3. Political representation and party politics.........................................................92 5.3.1. Political rights: who has what? ..................................................................92 Table 12: Citizenship acquisition by third country nationals in Greece (20002008) ....................................................................................................................93 Table 10. Residence Cards of Indefinite Duration (2005-2008)..........................93 5.3.2. The positions of the main political parties.................................................93 5.3.3. Recent elections and the ‘migrant’ factor ..................................................99 5.3.4. How newer and future citizens affect the political sphere .......................100 5.4. Concluding remarks and policy recommendations.........................................102 Annex I to Chapter 5: List of interviews ...........................................................104 CHAPTER 6 .............................................................................................................105 Conclusion: Addressing Diversity in Greece today ..............................................105 6.1 Nation, Migration and Diversity in the European Context ..............................105
6.2 Concepts of Diversity and Interculturalism .....................................................107 6.3 Understandings of Discrimination in the Workplace.......................................111 6.4 Political Participation and Representation .......................................................114 6.5 Concluding Remarks........................................................................................115 References..........................................................................................................120
CHAPTER 1 Setting the stage: understanding migration towards Greece Until recently, Greece was a migration sender rather than host. Emigration, however, came to a halt in the mid to late 1970s after the tightening up of migration regimes in northern Europe. The 1989 geopolitical changes converted the country into a host of mainly undocumented immigrants from eastern and central Europe, and increasingly from the Third World. Major population inflows since the late 1980s include coethnic ‘returnees’ and/ or their descendants from the former Soviet Republics (Georgia, Kazakshtan, Russia and Armenia, commonly known as Pontic Greeks); Greek Albanian immigrants (ethnic Greek Albanian citizens known as Vorioepirotes); economic immigrants from non EU countries (e.g. Ukrainians, Russians, Georgians, Bangladeshis or Filipinos); and a smaller number of returning Greek emigrants from northern Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The dramatic and sudden increase of immigrant influx since the early 1990s was a new and unexpected phenomenon for both the government and the population. The new situation has been characterised by administrative and political confusion with regard to migration policy, and also by a shift in popular attitudes towards foreigners. Surveys on racism and xenophobia have registered an increase in racist and xenophobic attitudes since the mid-1990s, even though the discourse in the political and public spheres (media, audio-visual, political debates, etc) has been actively encouraging the adoption of a more multi-culturalist approach focusing on the importance of human rights, equality and non-discrimination on ethnic or racial grounds. In the last four or five years, there has been a steady and growing realisation that Greece is no longer a ‘new’ immigration country. After two decades of continual migration influx, the diversity that currently characterises Greece’s demographic and socio-economic reality is acknowledged as no longer a temporary phenomenon. The Greek authorities have so far responded – and in most cases with considerable delay to migration trends and realities on the ground. It is essentially only in more recent years that gradually – though again in most cases hesitantly - steps have been taken to develop an integral migration policy that is not restricted to two core dimensions: (a) border control and combating of illegal migration; and (b) regularisation of irregular migrants. Given the particularities of Greece’s geographical position and the fact that most of its borders are external EU borders1 and have been particularly vulnerable to networks of traffickers and smugglers, it is reasonable that combating illegal and irregular migration has been a priority for the Greek government. Similarly to other southern European countries, ex-post regularisation programmes have also been one of the key ways through which Greece has attempted to manage and address the migration reality on the ground. Neither of these policy responses, however, is sufficient. In today’s globalised and increasingly interconnected and mobile world where competition for human resources is just as intense as for all other resources, lacking a clear strategy in migration policy is considerable disadvantage. It is important in terms of what sort of migrants a country wishes to actively encourage, and subsequently, it is necessary in terms of proactively managing the sorts of ways it wishes to include and integrate the migrant population in the economic, social, cultural and eventually political spheres of it public life.
Greece borders with Albania, FYROM and Turkey and with 2 EU member states (Bulgaria and it shares sea borders with Italy).
In short, Greece was a late starter in developing a migration policy. Over the past half a decade, policies are being developed aiming at addressing the integration of legal migrants across all sectors – education, health, housing and employment, while there is a growing debate in the public sphere regarding naturalisation criteria and political rights for third country nationals (TCNs). The role of NGOs in particular has been pivotal in sensitivising and raising awareness that Greece has become a multicultural society and in advocating for migrants’ social, economic and civic rights. Public authorities and agencies have been ‘catching up’ in most cases in developing adequate responses to the diversity characterising Greek society today. Political participation of immigrants remains a sensitive matter, and what may be referred to as ‘progressive’ state policies are sometimes met with the citizenry reluctance to accept foreigners on a par within Greek society. Against this background, this report discusses the challenges that migration related cultural diversity poses for Greece with special references to education, discrimination in the labour market and political participation. This report is organized in six parts. In the chapter that follows we discuss the conception of diversity in Greece and how it relates to two basic dimensions, notably ethnicity and religion. We look at the historical and discursive formation of national identity and we examine how these discourses have evolved in response to recent challenges such as the construction of an official mosque in Athens or the Mohammed cartoons controversy. Chapter three discusses the multicultural dimension in education. We discuss different definitions of cultural diversity in education and the distinction made in Greece between intercultural and multicultural approaches in education policy. We then survey in detail the education policy provisions taken in Greece to respond to the needs of an increasingly multi ethnic and multi religious school population and discuss the understandings of self and other inherent in policies and relevant stakeholders’ discourses and practices. Chapter four concentrates on policies and practices combating discrimination in the labour market with special reference to how the Anti Discrimination Directives have been transposed into national law and more importantly how they have been implemented so far. This chapter pays special attention to public views on what discrimination is, how widespread is it and knowledge of the available legal remedies. We investigate the reasons for the actual non implementation of anti-discrimination provisions with special reference to the problematic aspects in the institutional make up of anti-discrimination bodies as well as to the inertia of civil society in this field. Chapter five turns to the question of political participation and representation of immigrants. We examine the different levels of rights attributed to different categories of immigrants (co-ethnics from former Soviet Union, co-ethnics from Albania, ‘other immigrants’) and look at the positions and initiatives of different political parties in this domain. We also survey the (non-)existence of structures of civic and political participation at the local or regional level and discuss how the political exclusion of a large part of the resident population in Greece affects the quality of democracy. Chapter six draws some empirical and theoretical conclusions from the four areas analysed in the previous chapters. We discuss in particular how the immigrant and the national self are mutually constituted in the national imaginary of a cohesive and everlasting nation but also in the specific arenas of social life such as schools, work and politics. The aim of this discussion is to mark the contours of the modern Greek national self understanding at the eve of the 21st century. The second part of
chapter six looks at the main policy concepts that channel the understanding and policies on diversity in Greece. These include: democracy and religious freedom as negative concepts (i.e. freedom defined in a rather restricted way as toleration, or the freedom of one to be tolerated as different) rather than in its positive terms (i.e. of recognition and respect of differences); a tense and rival relationship between interculturalism and multiculturalism; a tug between integration and assimilation (and the conflation between the two); the concepts of equality and non-discrimination and the ‘gaps’ that exist between citizens and non-citizens (in this context, the debates in the public sphere revolve around how much equality is desirable and feasible; in which domains; whether equality and non-discrimination constitute a future goal in certain sectors; and whether these are may lead to changes that may be perceived as problematic for the native majority); questions of legitimacy of citizens/immigrants as claimants towards public administration; and, last but not least, ideas about the role of political elites in channeling political participation and incorporation (between voluntarism and clientelism). We also discuss the absence of some concepts and notions from the case studies and the relevant debates: notably the absence of Europe as an identity of reference as well as the lack of reference to concepts such as secularism and religious pluralism. Finally, this report concludes by referring to eight dimensions that are explored in the EMILIE project from a comparative perspective among all the national case studies. In the Greek case, we discuss the context within which specific policies have, or have not been pursued and implemented as regards the migrant population residing in Greece with respect to: (1) the anti-discrimination legal framework that has been set up in the EU; (2) the emphasis placed on national identity in the arenas of public policy; (3) the recognition of ‘difference’ in the public sphere; (4) the extent to which the state is neutral in promoting one or more ‘national cultures’ in the public sphere; (5) whether rights are recognised primarily with respect to individuals or groups; (6) the relationship between the state and the individual; (7) the emphasis placed on minority national identity; and finally, (8) on the importance accorded to actively promoting interaction between groups. These eight dimensions are explored in all nine case studies on which the EMILIE project has concentrated in order to explore the changing notions of identity across Europe, and draw some comparative findings and contribute to the approaches and understandings of approaches to multiculturalism in Europe at present.
CHAPTER 2 Cultural Diversity in Greek Public and Political Discourses 2.1 Historical Legacies and Contemporary Challenges Greece’s history, its national politics and its society have been determined by the country’s position at the crossroads, both in geographic and in cultural terms, between East and West. Greek national identity, (see Roudometof 1999, Tsoukalas 1993) Greek foreign policy and its relations with other countries, particularly with those in its neighbourhood, are profoundly influenced by this positioning (Heraklidis 1995). Greek identity inter-digitates the legacy of the classical period, its Byzantine tradition and Eastern Orthodox heritage, with ‘Western’ Enlightenment particularly as regards modernity, nationalism and the Nation-State (Tsoukalas 2002). Its particularity lies in the existence of two competing universalisms: that of ancient Greek culture on one hand, and that of Eastern Orthodoxy, on the other. At the same time, its Ottoman past continues to be perceived as a threat towards its identity and independence. In present-day Greece, this is reflected in tense and rather conflictual relations with neighbouring Turkey, and an uneasy perception of Islam. This East-West tension remains an important feature of Greek identity and politics. Entrapped between Hellenism and Romiosyne (Tziovas 1994), the positioning of modern Greece is considered as being of but not in Europe (Triandafyllidou 2002a). Its accession to the European Economic Community/European Union, formalised Greece’s western belonging and confirmed that western Europes has been its main political and cultural reference since the creation of the modern Greek state in the early 19th century. Nevertheless, Greeks tend to look at other Europeans as ‘others’ and as ‘different’ to the foundations of Greek tradition and collective identity (Anagnostou 2005, Kokosalakis 2004). This perception is frequently mutual from other EU Member States, particularly on matters of foreign policy. The most striking example to illustrate this lack of understanding between them is the so-called Macedonian question2 that has occupied a central position on Greece’s foreign policy agenda since the early 1990s. Legacies of the past, territorial insecurities and antagonistic identities in the Balkans have not been easily understood by western and northern EU member states, while they have often been exaggerated in Greek politics, largely for domestic political reasons. The new European context at the eve of the 21st century poses new challenges to Greek national self-understandings. Four issues in particular have triggered shifts and have affected understandings of difference and identity in Greece. The first has to do with the European Union’s deepening and widening processes. The inclusion of Greece in the first phase of the Euro zone implementation, on 1 January 2002, was more than an economic accomplishment. It has also been used as a symbolic referrent of Greece’s belonging to ‘core’ Europe (Psimmenos 2004). Moreover, the 2004 enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe and the shifting of the EU geopolitical, cultural and religious borders farther East has made Greece inevitably less peripheral in the European landscape (Triandafyllidou and Spohn 2003). Both developments make Greek national discourses more firmly anchored in Europe, overcoming to a certain
i.e. the question of recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as an independent Republic, the name that this last would take, as well as its nationalist claims to what the Greeks deemed as ‘their’ national heritage (see also Triandafyllidou, Mikrakis, and Calloni, 1997, Roudometof 1996).
extent the idea of an ethno-religiously defined, compact and unitary national identity with little place for cultural or ethnic diversity. The second factor too is EU related. EU enlargement policy towards Turkey and the Balkans has openned yet another identity and geopolitical challenge for Greece. Enlargement is considered as a vital factor that will contribute and consolidate stability, democracy, good-neighbourly relations and peace in southeastern Europe. As such, it has been defined as a core priority for the Greek governments, supported by a solid consensus across the main political parties. Eurobarometer public opinion results, however, indicate that this consensus is not as equally wide-spread among Greek public opinion that favours EU enlargement to southeast Europe, but rather reluctant towards the entry of Turkey to the EU even if the latter fulfils all the accession criteria.3 A predominantly Muslim Turkey, a historical threatening Other for Greece, that becomes a member of the ‘European family’4 stirs unresolved identity and geopolitical questions and confuses the East with the West from a traditional Greek nationalist perspective. Third, over the last two decades, ethnic, religious and linguistic minority rights have increasingly been a pressing matter in Europe due to the concurrence of two factors. On the one hand, regional legal and institutional frameworks – such as the OSCE and the European Convention on Human Rights – have accomplished progress on promoting the recognition and protection of minorities across Europe. This progress has hesitantly crept into the Greek socio-political reality as well, influencing debates and policies on the position and rights of minorities in Greece. Greece’s religious and linguistic minorities have been a very sensitive matter, some of them protected by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, others disregarded and ignored. This ‘sensitivity’ has been described by a Greek analyst of political culture Nikiforos Diamantouros (1983: 55) as an indication that the process of national integration has remained incomplete. The disintegration of Yugoslavia and the re-shuffling of nations and borders in the Balkans have brought minority matters at the top of political agendas in Greece’s immediate neighbourhood and in Greece itself. Defensive nationalism was re-ignited, irredentist claims, real or perceived, were pronounced, and the Balkan wars in the 1990s at Greece’s borders increased the need to address minority matters. Today, formal and informal discrimination remain serious concerns, although majority-minority relations have developed positively since the early 1990s. Finally, since 1989, Greece has become host to a large number of immigrants that currently account for approximately 10% of the total resident population. Mainly from the Balkans (Albania and Bulgaria), central and eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine, and Russia) but also increasingly from Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) diversity has become a fact within Greece’s demography. Immigration poses an important challenge to the dominant Greek nationalist discourses. It has slowly obliged the state institutions as well as public opinion to recognise that Greek society has become de facto multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. This chapter focuses on the debates that have developed in Greece in the past few years as a result of migration-related diversity. Therefore, the core of this chapter
The support for Turkey joining the EU if it fulfils all the criteria is on average in EU25 48% against, with highest percentages against in Austria 81%, Germany and Luxembourg 69%, Cyprus 68% and Greece 67%), Source: Eurobarometre, No. 255, Issue 65.2, July 2006, accessed on 18 October 2006 at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_255_en.pdf. 4 Olli Rehn, ‘Turkey’s best response is a rock-solid commitment to reforms,’ International Symposium on ‘European Social Model and Trade Union Rights within the EU negotiations’, Speech in Ankara, 3 October 2006, http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/06/559&format=HTML&aged=0&lan guage=EN&guiLanguage=en , accessed on 17 October 2006.
will focus on the latter factor mentioned above. However, the other three dimensions heavily influence the context against which these debates take place as well as the position of the state, other actors (for example the Greek Church) and wider society. Hence, in this study, we shall discuss the dominant understandings of Greek national identity and in relation to this, the ways in which difference is framed in current public and political discourses. Second, we shall briefly outline the main parameters of most recent challenge to Greek national identity, notably immigration. Immigration largely provides for the demographic context within which discourses about the accommodation of difference are currently taking place. The fourth and fifth section will analyse the parliamentary debates and media coverage regarding the establishment of a mosque in downtown Athens, and the coverage of the Danish Mohammed cartoons affair by Greek media discourses. While the construction of the mosque in Athens is a small national crisis that has triggered public and political debates about the recognition and accommodation of difference, the cartoons’ issue has raised more general questions on the values of a democratic society and the tensions that may arise between them in a multicultural society. In conclusion, the chapter assesses the main understandings of migration-related cultural difference in Greece and how this has impinged upon dominant national self-understandings among Greek media and political elites. 2.2 National Identity and Difference While the early currents of Greek nationalism in late eighteenth century were marked by the influence of the Enlightenment and its ideals (Veremis 1983, Kitromilidis 1990), the first decades of Greece’s independence, defined the nation in predominantly ethno-cultural terms, through references to common ancestry, culture and language (Veremis 1990; Kitromilidis 1983 and 1990). The dominant narrative of the nation that was constructed by Greek historiographers in the late nineteenth century, was founded on Greece’s classical past, it continued with Christianity and the Byzantine Empire, and concluded with Greece’s subjugation to the Ottoman Empire and the national resurrection in 1821. The Greek national community was thus presented as unique both in its singularity and universality. Moreover, the united and unique national community was invented and further reinforced through state policies in military conscription, education and culture throughout the twentieth century. Greekness has been defined as an amalgamate of (belief in) common ancestry, cultural traditions and religion. This triple self-definition provided also for a triple boundary that distinguished Greeks from their neighbouring nations. Greeks were differentiated from Muslims and Jews in the East because they were Christian Orthodox. They were also distinct from the Slavs in the north based on their claim to classical Greek culture. Modern Greece saw itself as the natural heir of the ancient Greek civilization – as if culture is an object, and the nation is its owner (Handler 1988: 142). This feature made this relatively small and economically under-developed country in the southeastern periphery of the continent into a central symbol of the construction of a European civilization (Tsoukalas 2002). Although territorial and civic features have also gained importance through the consolidation of the national territory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Greekness has been often, even today, defined as a transcendental notion in Greek public discourses (Tsoukalas 1993). During the 1990s, we have witnessed an increased fetishisation of Greekness and an increasing emphasis placed on ethnic and cultural features of national identity
(Triandafyllidou 2007). This form of nationalism may be defined as defensive, reacting to real or perceived cultural and territorial threats to the national integrity. It was also accompanied by a feeling of distance and alienation from Europe and Greece’s EU partners. On the Macedonian question controversy, European governments and public opinion were seen by Greek politicians and public opinion as unable to understand the specific historical context of southeast Europe, detached from Greek concerns and indifferent to Greek interests (Triandafyllidou et al. 1997). Similarly, when the Parliament voted in 1998 to abolish Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code that discriminated against Greek citizens of non-Greek ethnicity (notably members of the Muslim minority of Western Thrace), Greek national identity took again a defensive and nationalist overtone. The law for the abrogation of article 19 was voted in full patriotic ethos as a measure that had served the national interest but no longer did (Anagnostou 2005). The related government initiatives and parliamentary discussions as analysed in Anagnostou (2005) pointed to a very limited opening of the national political elites’ debate towards a civic and territorial definition of Greek national identity that would accommodate the Turkish Muslim minority within Greek society on the basis of equality and respect for cultural diversity. More recent studies, however, that look into the first years of the 21st century note that a more flexible understanding of Greek national identity among citizens and elites is emerging. Kokosalakis (2004), and Anagnostou and Triandafyllidou (2007) suggest that the increasing salience of European policies and symbols, such as the European currency, and the actual experiences of belonging to the Europe Union (such as those of Turkish Muslim minority respondents in western Thrace who had been recipients of EU funds analysed in Anagnostou and Triandafyllidou, op. cit.) reinforce a civic and political value component in Greek national identity. Although the EU is often understood in instrumental terms, both minority respondents in western Thrace (Anagnostou and Triandafyllidou 2007) and majority respondents in other parts of Greece (Kokosalakis 2004) emphasise that Europe is a model for its respect for cultural diversity, indeed a model that can and should be applied within nation-states too, Greece in particular. In sum, the dominant discourses of defensive ethnic nationalism registered in the 1990s have gradually given way to more open definitions of the nation in this decade, where civic and territorial elements play an important part. Against this background of national identity formation and dominant nationalism discourses, difference in Greece is understood at two inextricably tied levels: ethnicity/nationality and religion. These two aspects emanate from the very definition of Greekness that successfully combined the particularism of the nation with the universalism of Greek Orthodoxy. The Greek understanding of difference is mobilised and enacted with regard to both native minorities and immigrant groups. It is the historical experience of nation formation and difficult relations with neighbouring countries and their co-ethnic minorities within Greece that has shaped the Greek notion of ethnic and religious difference. As is presented below, however, these historically shaped notions of difference are today projected also towards the immigrant populations and relevant immigration legislation. The dimension of ethnicity is incorporated into the Greek definition of national citizenship that is predominantly based on ius sanguinis. As such it is at odds with the presence of a native Turkish Muslim minority in western Thrace. The Greek authorities reject the minority’s claim for an ethnic self-definition as Turkish and only accept the existence of a religious minority in line with the provisions of the international Treaty of Lausanne between Greece and Turkey in 1923
(http://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/1918p/lausanne.html). The difficulty to accommodate the minority’s claims lies largely within the complex web of GreekTurkish relations but has also to do with an understanding that the Greek nation is culturally, religiously and ethnically homogenous (Anagnostou 2003; Anagnostou and Triandafyllidou 2007). This mono-ethnic definition of national citizenship is particularly reflected in the absence of provisions for second generation immigrants. Thus, on one hand, immigrants of ethnic Greek descent like Pontic Greeks were granted citizenship immediately upon arrival subject to proof of their Greek origins, regardless of the fact that they did not speak the language and were not familiar with Greek customs and mores. On the other hand, children of foreign parents who are born and bred in Greece are considered aliens because they cannot claim Greek ancestry. As regards religion as a dimension of difference, it is worth noting that the Orthodox Church of Greece is constitutionally recognized as the ‘prevailing’ religion in Greece,5 while Islam is recognized as the religion of the autochtonous Muslim minority of Western Thrace (northeast Greece). The only other recognized minority under public law is the Jewish one. These distinctions in themselves have restricted religious freedoms in Greece and have led to a series of discriminatory legal and administrative practices. Such practices do not conform with European human rights norms and provisions and have led the European Court of Human Rights to a series of decisions condemning the Greek state on laws and practices that relate to the rights of religious groups and mainly regarding the rights of conscientious objectors, the establishment of places of worship, and especially Muslim community rights (Psychogiopoulou 2007). The particularity of the Greek approach to religious difference and more specifically to the recognition of Islam arises mainly from the treaty-based protection of the Muslim population of Thrace. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne frames the protection of the Muslim population’s religious rights in minority rights terms6 and is heavily influenced by the bilateral political relations between Greece and Turkey. National security matters and Greek-Turkish tense relations consequently frame the wider situation of religious rights and educational policies. They also set the stage for the majority population’s perceptions and concerns with regard to ‘difference’ (particularly in religious terms).
http://www.parliament.gr/politeuma/syntagmaDetails.asp?ArthroID=3 Greek Constitution, First Part- General Provisions, Relations between Church and State, Article 3. 6 This Treaty guarantees the preservation of sharia (Islamic law) as a separate jurisdiction presided over by the muftis (the religious leaders) who provide spiritual leadership, supervise the management of the property of the Muslim community and the operation of religious schools. The use of sharia is voluntary and geographically restricted to the regions where this minority population lives. More importantly, however, it replaces the Greek Civil code. The mufti decisions acquire legal force after the judiciary confirms their compliance with civil and constitutional principles. Given the extraordinary nature of this freedom the Greek government has persistently attempted to manage the selection process of muftis. On this matter, over the past fifteen years, there is significant opposition between the Muslim community and the Greek state given the latter’s insistence to have exclusive competence over the selection of the muftis. The Greek government’s position is that the functions of the religious leaders include legal and administrative decisions and, therefore, must be held by individuals with state recognition and state functions.
2.3 Migration and the Nation Emigration from Greece came to a halt in the mid to late 1970s after the tightening up of migration regimes in northern Europe and as a result of the country’s gradual economic development. The 1989 geopolitical changes and Greece’s EU membership converted the country into a target destination for several hundreds of thousands of, in their vast majority, undocumented immigrant workers from eastern and central Europe (and to a lesser degree from Africa and Asia). These initially irregular migrants have to a large extent settled in Greece and through repeated regularisation programmes (1998, 2001, 2005 and 2007) have now become a largely legal immigrant population. Nevertheless, extended undocumented migration has had large indirect costs related to social exclusion and social pathologies that affected not only the migrant but also the native population (see also Lyberaki and Pelagidis 2000). Between 1991 and 2001 (2001 national census), the immigrant population of Greece grew exponentially from under 2% of the total population to estimates that range between 10 and 12% (www.statistics.gr; Cortese 2007, Triandafyllidou 2006). Currently there are in Greece 800,000 immigrants registered in the census of 2001 (including both legal and undocumented), and 150,000 co-ethnic returnees from the former Soviet Union registered in a special census of 2000, who have however naturalized through preferential channels. There were also 145,000 applications in the regularization programme of 2005.7 It is unclear how many of the applicants are new entries or simply people who had not succeeded in obtaining their papers during earlier ‘amnesties’ or people who had achieved legal status but subsequently lost it because they were unable to renew their permits. It is also estimated that a large number of undocumented immigrants who were present in 2001, did not register at the census, for fear of being identified by immigration authorities. This impressive migrant inflow puts Greece at one of the top positions in Europe in terms of immigrant percentage in the whole population with an estimated 1.2 million of economic immigrants, including co-ethnic returnees, i.e. about 10% of the total population and over 12% of the total labour force. Main nationalities among the immigrant population include over half a million of Albanian citizens, 150,000 co-ethnic returnees from the former Soviet Republics, 110-120,000 Asians (40-50,000 Pakistanis, about 20,000 Chinese and Filipinos, and about 10-15,000 Bangladeshis and Indians, see Tonchev 2007), 47,000 citizens from the EU15 member states (registered in 2001), 40-50,000 Poles (Christou et al. 2007) and at least as many Bulgarians. At the 2001 census, there were approximately 20,000 Georgians, 17,000 Russians and 10,000 Ukrainians registered. It is estimated that the actual size of these immigrant groups is larger but there are no current reliable data yet available. Immigration poses an important challenge to the dominant Greek nationalist discourses. The recognition of Greek society as a de facto multi-cultural and multiethnic, both on the part of state institutions and the native society has been pressing because of the growing need for suitable policy responses. Unfortunately, Greece’s immigration policy continues to remain largely reactive, fragmented and extremely limited in measures promoting integration. Moreover, any efforts at encouraging immigrant acceptance in Greek society are largely predicated on a model of assimilation rather than the public recognition of cultural diversity.
The 2007 regularization was ongoing at the time of writing (April 2007).
Three examples are illustrative of this. First, today, there are 140,000 pupils (just under 10% of the total school population from pre-school to high school) in the public education system, who are non-Greek citizens yet there are only 26 ‘intercultural’ schools (out of over 15,000 schools in total). The main educational approach towards cultural diversity comes through the special courses aiming at supporting foreign students in learning Greek. Language acquisition is seen as the main tool for integration and there is no provision for recognising and accommodating the cultural, religious and linguistic diversity of the pupils into the mainstream public education system. Even ‘inter-cultural schools’ follow the mainstream curriculum. Second, state authorities remain reluctant to engage into dialogue with immigrant associations and to include them in immigration policy committees and official consultations. The Advisory Committee for immigration policy issues created by law 3536/23.02.2007 is telling of this approach as it does not include immigrant representatives. Third, the naturalization process. Access to citizenship is part of a state’s integration policy and the way it manages migration. The way in which any given country defines the process and criteria through which citizenship is granted defines, to a large extent, where it places the boundaries between ‘members’ and ‘foreigners, between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders.’ In effect, citizenship policies, or naturalisation processes, have been gradually developing as instruments through which to integrate or (re)admit populations; manage their stay; and grant specific rights to certain groups or restrict state obligations to others (Gropas 2007). In the case of Greece, the naturalisation process is one of the longest in the EU, it is expensive, the process is discretionary and preferential towards individuals of Greek origin (ECRI 2004). One particular feature of incoming migration of the last 15 years, is that it has led to the expansion of the Muslim population in Greece. Albanian immigrants of Muslim faith as well tens of thousands of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (Triandafyllidou and Gropas 2005: 11) now live in the greater Athens area. Contrary to the Muslim minority of Thrace, the immigrant Muslim population in Athens has not been able to practice their faith in legal premises since the authorization for the establishment of a venue for the Muslim faith has not yet been granted. According to Royal Decree 1363/1938 and its amendment 1672/1939, the establishment of non-Orthodox places of worship is subject to a government permit issued by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. This government permit is issued following from a non-binding Opinion provided by the Orthodox Church of Greece (OCG). The government decision is based on assessment of whether the religion is ‘known’, its worship is not against public order and morals, there is no exercise of proselytism and there is a real need for the establishment of a church or other place of worship (Council of State Decisions 721/1969 and 1444/1991). This situation offers rather extensive room for the executive to evaluate what constitutes a ‘known’ religion, whether there is a necessity to establish a religious venue, or what constitutes proselytism. Furthermore, it offers the potential of a rather wide scope for interference on behalf of the OCG. These points have been at the focus of litigation cases at the Strasbourg Court (Psychogiopoulou 2007). They have also been pointed out by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe both in the 2002 Report and in the 2006 Follow-up Assessment Report.8 In particular, the Commissioner addressed the fact that proselytism in Greece
Council of Europe, 2002, 2006, see https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=984125&BackColorInternet=99B5AD&BackColorIntranet=FABF 45&BackColorLogged=FFC679, accessed on 10 March 2007.
was still subject to criminal sanction putting needless pressure on religious or spiritual groups wishing to share their convictions in a law-abiding manner, without recourse to subversive, coercive, deceptive or improper methods. As regards the places of worship, here too the Commissioner recommended to amend the relevant legislation where the opinion of the Orthodox bishop is required and to vest the Secretary General for Religious Affairs with sole authority responsible for applying an administrative procedure that could comprise a public enquiry where all interested parties, including the local bishop, would be able to express their opinions. However, given the particular relation between Church and State in Greece where mutual interference in each other’s affairs is accepted and indeed even formalized in the case of educational matters through the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs these recommendations remain as such, simply recommendations. The establishment of a religious venue for the Muslim population is Athens is perhaps the most sensitive area in terms of popular perceptions and the way the state has attempted to respond to the religious needs of the growing immigrant population. The debates that surrounded the need to construct a mosque in Athens exemplify the difficulty of coming to terms with religious diversity in Greece and are looked more closely in the fourth section below. 2.4 The Athens Mosque controversy There are over three hundred mosques operating in Greece today. Most of these operate mainly in the North. Since Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821, there has not been a single mosque in official operation in Athens and the wider Attica region. This, of course, does not mean that there are no mosques or practicing Muslims in Greece’s capital. According to reports, approximately 130 informal prayer rooms exist across Athens mainly located in private apartments, shops or storage facilities. These ‘underground’ places of worship cater to the growing number of Muslim immigrants presently in Athens albeit there are no data about their actual numbers. Taking into account the size of the Asian communities in the Athens area (Tonchev 2007), there are at least 100,000 Muslim immigrants in Athens, without including Albanian citizens. Ambassadors from Arab states have been lobbying the Greek government to construct a mosque in the capital for over three decades. However, the event that provoked a significant public discussion on this matter was not the claim of the Muslim immigrant communities to have an official place of worship. It was the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. In effect, in the context of the preparation of the 2004 Games, the need to provide a space for athletes and visitor belonging to the Muslim faith made the ‘Athens mosque’ top the political agendas and the press. Law 2833 was voted in 2000 providing for the establishment of a mosque in the eastern Athens suburb of Paiania. The law stipulated that this mosque would be constructed with the collaboration of the Greek public authorities and representatives of Arab countries. This proposal was based on the law relating to the preparation of the 2004 Olympic Games albeit it was never put into practice. This legislation was presented by the Socialist governing party (PASOK). It encountered the resistance of the Conservative party New Democracy which considered the overall idea unnecessary and ill-designed. The leftist parties (Greek Communist Party and the Alliance of the Left) proposed that the mosque should be built in a central Athens neighbourhood catering to the local immigrant population’s spiritual needs.
A second draft law on the subject of establishing a mosque was submitted to Parliament in late 2006 by the then ruling Conservative party New Democracy (Parliamentary proceedings, 12 November 2006: 1230 -1231). This bill proposed the establishment of a mosque in Eleonas, near the city centre of Athens area. It stipulated that the Greek Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs would be exclusively responsible to construct and finance it, and it would be managed by an Administrative Board appointed by the same Ministry. The mosque would be constructed on public premises – i.e. the Ministry would make available state property in order to provide a space for its construction, and would be responsible for all related expenses. In the following sections we analyse the press and parliamentary debates. We identify the main actors involved, the themes debates and the central political and value questions raised in the press. The analysis of the parliamentary debates focuses on the argumentation put forward by the different parties with a view to highlighting the dominant understandings of identity and difference and of how migration-related religious diversity should be accommodated in Greece. 2.4.1 The debates in the Press Overview of the Coverage Five daily quality newspapers (including their respective Sunday editions if these appear under a different title): Rizospastis, Eleftherotypia, Ta Nea, To Vima, and Kathimerini have been included in the analysis of the press discourse.9 These newspapers were reviewed electronically by searching their online electronic archives in early 2007. The analysis covers the period between January 2004 and December 2006 and includes news reports and editorials by each newspaper. Sixty-five articles focusing specifically on the mosque question were identified and analysed in terms of the main themes, actors reported in the coverage and political questions raised in relation to the matter. The articles of the Communist party newspaper mainly provide for news reporting on the matter. As regards the other four newspapers, there is a strong similarity in terms of the issues covered, the positions presented and the subjects analysed. Out of the five newspapers, Eleftherotypia has accorded more attention to the overall debate publishing 26 out of the 66 news stories analysed covering a variety of topics. The dominant themes in the coverage include the following: Table 1: Thematic analysis of the press coverage on the mosque construction
Theme Establishment of an Islamic centre of study Newspaper Eleftherotypia Kathimerini English Edition Ta Nea No of relevant articles 2 1 1 Total 6
Kathimerini is a quality broadsheet of centre-right wing orientation (with an English language insert every Friday), Eleftherotypia, Ta Nea and To Vima are of centre-left wing orientation. They are quality newspapers although the language they use is more sensational than that used by Kathimerini. Rizospastis is the official newspaper of the Greek Communist Party.
Informal prayer rooms in Athens Opinions regarding the establishment and location of the Mosque
Funding and procedural aspects relating to the building and functioning of the Mosque
The history of the establishment of the Mosque in Athens Lack of a Muslim cemetery TOTAL
To Vima Eleftherotypia Ta Nea Το Vima Eleftherotypia Kathimerini English edition Kathimerini Rizospastis To Vima Ta Nea Eleftherotypia Kathimerini English edition Rizospastis To Vima Ta Nea Kathimerini Eleftherotypia To Vima Ta Nea
2 5 1 1 14 4 3 2 4 10 4 2 1 1 3 1 1 1 2
3 2 65
The actors most frequently cited by the press include religious authorities (the Church of Greece and in particular the Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos, and the bishop of Paiania), state authorities (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs), local government (the Mayor of the City of Athens and the Mayor of Paiania), and Muslim organisations (representatives of the Pakistani immigrant association). Clearly the debate is dominated by institutional actors representing the dominant majority (Christian Orthodox Greeks) while the minority whose religious needs were to be addressed (Muslim immigrants) was represented through the Pakistani community organisation only and some personalised stories of individual migrants published in Eleftherotypia, (22/03/2004, 21/03/2004, 04/04/2006) and Ta Nea (31/07/2004) providing personal accounts of migrants’ difficulties to practice their religion. The establishment of the mosque is accepted, in principle, by all sides. It is considered as a necessary venue for the needs of the population practicing the Muslim faith, and as a reasonable religious freedom. With the exception of the bishop of Thessaloniki who takes a more critical approach overall, all other parties agree with the need for this mosque. However, the questions and issues that are raised in the subsequent debates illustrate that there is a significant underlying unease about the matter. The questions raised by the press include: Where should it be built? What would the symbolic implications be regarding each possible location? How would the local majority population react to its construction? What would be the ‘dangers’ of this construction? The press coverage focuses on the national political and religious elites. There is an extensive coverage of the disagreement within the political elite. Such disagreements are personalised and take place not only between parties but also within them. In other words, the left-right wing dimension is largely irrelevant in organising the opinions of Greek politicians in favour or against the construction of a mosque in Athens. Similarly a lot of attention is paid to the opinions expressed by the Archbishop of Greece, Christodoulos, which are always in full support for the establishment of this mosque but are inter-digitated by the press by comments 18
suggesting that this support is hypocritical, covering up the fact that the Church is discreetly obstructing its establishment. Attention is paid also to disagreements within the religious elite since other archbishops oppose Christodoulos warning of the ‘dangers’ involved in the construction and operation of a mosque. The opinions and positions of the Muslim immigrants that are directly concerned with the issue are relatively marginal to the overall debate. Eleftherotypia only reports on them, including interviews with immigrants and immigrant representatives exposing their opinions and needs to have a formal place to pray and a cemetery to bury their dead. Their opposition concerning the establishment of the mosque in the suburbs of Athens is also emphasised. An important theme in the coverage is ‘the foreign factor’ and the perceived potential threats related to the construction of the mosque. The press links the religious aspects of Islam (the building and functioning of a mosque in Athens) with the question of national security and the relationship between Turkey and Greece, short-circuiting the debate. The ‘foreign factor’ issue disorients the debate moving the focus from the question of values to the issue of security. The construction of the mosque becomes part of the larger security debate that is related to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in general and the Turkish Other in particular. These threats are sometimes explicitly expressed while other times they are alluded to through rhetoric questions. In other words, the question of the mosque becomes intertwined with Greece’s most significant Other, Turkey, and the West’s most significant threat, violent Islamic fundamentalism. In a few articles reviewed, the basis on which to accommodate migrationrelated cultural diversity is debated. One of the articles in Ta Nea (28/03/2006) includes an interview with the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs and the matter of the mosque in Athens is placed within a much wider context. Minister Bakoyannis expresses her support for the timely establishment of the mosque in central Athens because she considers this as being part of the wider dialogue between Europe and the US on the one hand and the Muslim world on the other. Stressing the need for this dialogue to be substantial and credible, she noted that the construction of this mosque would enable Greece to participate as a constructive partner in this dialogue. Similarly, another article in Eleftherotypia (08/04/2006) emphasises that Orthodoxy and Islam lived side by side for centuries and rejects the automatic clash between these faiths and sees current socio-economic exclusion and underdevelopment as the roots of fundamentalism. Although these articles call for a dialogue between religions and cultures and express a willingness to recognize and accommodate religious and cultural diversity in Greece, they include no reflection on the fact that many European citizens and residents are Muslims nor a re-consideration of what it means to be Greek today. During 2006, the press emphasized that the mosque should be built and that a denial to build it would constitute a violation of basic rights and freedoms as these are stated in the Greek Constitution. Thus, the matter of whether or not the Church of Greece (COG) would grant its assent was considered irrelevant. The large conservative quality daily Kathimerini argued that even the issuance of an ‘opinion’ on the part of the COG was unconstitutional and a violation of religious rights and freedoms (Kathimerini, 30/04/2006). In the same article, the absolute association between Greece and Orthodoxy was rejected (Kathimerini, 30/04/2006). Some articles (Eleftheroypia, 23/05/2006; Eleftheroypia, 15/04/2006; Ta Nea 22/07/2004) stressed the need to disassociate between religious and national identity since citizenship is a legal, public matter, whereas religion was considered to belong to the
realm of private life. It was also argued, the mosque should be built for the religious needs of Muslims, regardless of nationality. This line of reasoning adopts a Republican viewpoint of the type traditionally supported by French elites and state institutions: religious freedom and respect of religious diversity were considered as important political principles. However diversity was to be recognized and accommodated only as an individual private matter and not as an issue associated with the recognition of collective rights. In this context, the establishment of a temple of worship for persons belonging to other religions was considered necessary in a ‘European’ and democratic country like Greece in the 21st century. In numerous statements, the terms ‘tolerance’ and ‘democracy’ were repeated providing for a clear political framing of the issue however, the question of citizenship and of how Greek citizenship could and should be pluralized in response to the changing character of Greek society was not mentioned by any newspaper. Although the press makes no direct association between the building of a mosque for the needs of the Muslim residents of Athens, who are economic immigrants in their vast majority, and the religious rights or freedoms of the native Muslim minority of western Thrace, there are several questions raised by journalists and academics in the press that point to the short-circuiting of the two discourses. For instance, the questions were raised: in which language the prayer would be held, how the imam would be elected (pointing to the internal differentiations among Sunni and Shiite Muslim immigrants), whether the Greek state should pay for the imam’s salary and the management expenses of the mosque under the principle of equality between all creeds. Also the more security-related questions of how to avoid that the mosque would come under the influence of Muslim religious leaders from other regions, or where the imams would be trained and educated, pointing to the need for a religious school in the context of Greek public higher education. The implicit fear here was that of the ‘foreign factor’ if the imams were educated in neighbouring Turkey. Clearly although the views constitute a step forward for dissociating religion from the state and emancipating state authorities from the Church of Greece, the underlying themes of the debate reproduce stereotypical perceptions of Islam and Muslim difference. The increasing presence of Islam is de facto connected to threats of Turkey and of an indirect means through which Turkish influence, intervention and national interests will be promoted within Greece. It is equally connected to threats of fundamentalism and by consequence international terrorism. It thus raises another aspect of national security, which comes to complement other dimensions of insecurity (identity, social unrest and polarization of society, etc). One proposal put forth was the creation of a Greek Muslim Institute that would represent the Muslim communities in Greece and would manage the Athens mosque. Yet this proposal was associated with a series of questions as to how to prevent that it become financed (in part or in whole) by ‘foreign’ actors that would thus have a ‘strong and dangerous weapon at their disposal. Because, we agree with the establishment of a mosque in Athens, but we do not intend to allow the creation of an international centre for educating terrorists (or at the very least fanatic enemies of our western world)’ (Kathimerini, 30/04/2006). Actually such proposals that are meant to promote the institutionalization of Muslim immigrant minorities are impregnated with a ‘foreign threat’ and (in)security discourse. In short, Islam and Muslims are, in one way or another, presented in the logic of antagonism and the infamous ‘class of civilisations’ approach. During 2006, the press reports the reactions of the Muslim population of Athens to the voting of the new law for the establishment of the mosque. These were
mildly positive acknowledging that: ‘at last we acquire a religious roof, like is the case in all other European capitals’ (Ta Nea, 26/07/2006). Muslim residents are also reported to approve the location of Elaionas near the centre of the city and hence near the areas where they live. The press reported also some divergence of opinions among the Muslim population regarding the issue of the imam’s appointment. Greek Muslims were reported to be in favour of a Greek imam appointed by the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs to head the mosque. Immigrant Muslims, particularly the Egyptians and Pakistanis who are the largest communities of Muslim immigrants, wished the imam to belong to their community arguing that a common language between the imam and the faithful was necessary. Thus, they argued that each large community of Muslims should have its own imam. Moreover, there was some disagreement between the Sunni and Shiite communities as to who would ‘lead’ the mosque. Even though the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Greece are Sunni, objections were raised as to how they would be forced to work together. Nonetheless, in their statements the representatives of the various groups stressed that efforts would be made to reach an internal consensus. Reporting on the Muslim residents of Athens appears to be sensitive to internal differences within the community and the need to accommodate these too. 2.4.2 The debates in Parliament A debate held in the Hellenic Parliament on the 7th of November 2007 (Πρακτικά Βουλής, Σύνοδος Γ’, Συνεδρίασης 12’: 880 -905) concentrated on the bill for the establishment of a mosque in Athens. This section does not aim at summarizing all the issues discussed during the parliamentary session but rather to highlight some of the rationales that were presented by the main political parties during this debate in support of the mosque’s construction or relevant concerns that were raised. The government framed its bill in reference to respect for human rights, tolerance towards difference and a continuous and multi-level dialogue between civilizations and religions (Parliament proceedings: 880). This was also seen to be in agreement with national historical experiences of the Greek nation that emphasized the role of religion and the importance of protecting religious identity and rights. Thus the bill was supported in full patriotic ethos: “…The best example is the Greek citizen who deserves to be proud because historically, he has deeply experienced restriction of his rights, persecution and the limitation of his religious identity and the attempt to annihilate Greekness and Orthodoxy. Consequently, our historic identity fully understands the importance of religious tolerance. (…) This is why we have understood the mutual and inter-related relation between the principles of human dignity and humanity (…) this is our civilization, this is our historic legacy.” (880) The need to respond to the immigrant populations’ religious needs was presented as a historic duty and as a responsibility to demonstrate the democratic credentials of Greek state and society. The refusal to proceed with the construction of the mosque was presented as a cultural retreat, a ‘victory of xenophobia’ and an unnecessary confirmation of Huntingdon’s clash of civilizations (881). Moreover, the Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs who has the responsibility for
all matters relating to the mosque underlined that this mosque is a constitutional responsibility of Greece and a response to the needs of the Muslim residents of Athens and is in no way associated with any dimension of Greek foreign policy, nor is it similar or in any way connected with the Muslims of Thrace of the Treaty of Lausanne (896). The argumentation of the Conservative party reinforced thus the representation of Greece as a European democratic country – it is worth noting that this issue was also emphasized in the press discourse – and also distinguished between the Greek-Turkish entanglement within which the Muslims of Thrace are caught and religious diversity related to immigration. The discourse on the part of the socialist PASOK opposition party was similarly framed in terms of fundamental freedom protection. However, the Socialist party also emphasized the need to safeguard cultural pluralism, difference and multiculturalism (881) at a time when globalization threatens to flatten differences. References to Greece’s close ties with the Arabic world were also referred to as further reasons supporting the mosque (890). The Socialist party raised two critical points though. First, it accused the government of failing to recognize and appropriately accommodate the religious, linguistic, national and ethnic diversity within the Muslim immigrant population. Second, it accused the government for adopting a statist and top-down approach without engaging into dialogue with the representatives of the immigrant population to allow them to express their needs and wishes on the matter. The two far left parties – the Greek communist party (KKE) and the Alliance of the Left (Synaspismos) – while supporting the creation of the mosque focused their arguments on the fundamental need to proceed with a complete separation between the Greek state and the Church (883-885). In agreement with the Socialists, the Alliance of the Left also denounced the statist character of the mosque’s management, which apart from anything else testified to the state’s intervention in religious affairs. However, the Alliance of the Left also adopted a more conservative discourse pointing to the need to avoid situations where extremist ‘Bin Laden type fundamentalists’ might control the mosque as is the case in ‘all other European cities’(885). The Parliamentary proceedings show a cross-party consensus as regards the need to establish a mosque in Athens. In addition, all the members of Parliament across the political spectrum recognized the important contribution of Greece’s immigrant population to the country’s economy and the need for the state to make the necessary accommodations for this population to be able to enjoy its fundamental rights and freedoms. As such, the immigrant population was accepted as a permanent feature of Greece’s multicultural society (893). However, given that immigration is no longer a new phenomenon in Greece, that the formal establishment of a mosque has been on-going for the past three decades and that there are over 70 informal prayer rooms in Athens, the politicians’ statements in favour of its establishment in Athens may be characterized as outdated or at the very least long overdue. This suggests that the formal establishment of an Islamic religious venue continues to be approached with caution and that there is a reactive approach to cultural diversity challenges.
2.4.3. Concluding Remarks: A Common Discourse between the Press and the Political Elites The majority of the Muslim population in Athens is neither Turkish nor of Turkish origin, they are economic immigrants or asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This demographic ‘detail’, however, does not appear to have been relevant for the development of the mosque debate. The construction of the mosque in Athens was associated with Greece’s Ottoman past, the Cyprus and Aegean disputes, Turkey’s aggression towards Greece (in political and military terms), and the situation of Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. These issues were sewn into the press and political debate even though they have no direct relevance to the issue. The location of the mosque in the Athens centre was also framed by some journalists and religious leaders as symbolic of the ‘Turkish threat’ and or the ‘Ottoman jug’ that Greece experienced for four centuries. There exists a distance between the positions expressed and the arguments put forward at the local and the national level. Local authorities and the representatives of the local church reported extensively in the press take the role of ‘defending’ the native population from the imposition of a religious establishment that constitutes a symbol of past oppression and a threat to Greek national identity and unity. The phobia elements are played up both by the local politicians and clergy through questioning the longer term consequences of the mosque’s presence and tapping into the current threat of international terrorism. The opposite position is taken mainly by the Holy Synod as well as the official government representatives, and in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the main representatives of the left-wing parties, as these are reported in the press or expressed in Parliament. In agreement with the Socialist and Conservative party discourses in Parliament, the Holy Synod frames its support for the mosque construction with reference to the value of democracy, religious freedom, constitutional rights and ‘the state’s duty to ensure respect and tolerance towards difference’ (Kathimerini, 16/04/2006). Similarly to the Holy Synod, the discourse of the main political parties and that of the main institutional actors (Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) framed the mosque construction as a matter of respect for religious freedom and a fundamental constitutional obligation of Greece. However, the argumentation was not limited to a rights-duties value dimension. The practical necessity of the mosque was framed in patriotic terms, as supporting the national interests. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for instance argued that for Greece to have the authority to pressure Turkey and other countries to respect human rights and European values, Greece cannot deprive the right to religious worship in an appropriate venue to hundreds of thousands of legal residents. She noted: ‘We are asking for the re-establishment of the Halki Theological School in Istanbul and at the same time we do not even have a mosque in our capital.’ (Ta Nea, 28/03/2006). This inconsistency and double-standards was pointed out less as a value question and more as a weak point preventing Greece from successfully promoting its national interests and thereby a matter that needs to be remedied. Alongside this patriotic framing of the mosque bill, there was extensive reference to the fact that religious freedom is a core value and a right that ought to be able to be exercised freely by all. There is in principle support for the rights of the ‘other.’ However, such declaratory statements were not followed up by concrete proposals to speed up the establishment of the mosque. Moreover, they were rarely
disassociated from statements of ‘but… there are other issues that need to be taken into consideration (i.e. location, funding, ulterior motives, etc)’ that in effect hampered the process and demonstrated a significant degree of Islamophobia. Value statements referring to democracy, respect of fundamental rights and religious freedoms were largely of a declaratory nature and did not involve any actual reconsideration of Greek identity. On the contrary, the latter was perceived as uniform and cohesive, contrasted to the Muslim Other. The press and parliamentary debate show that cultural and religious difference is not in any way accepted as part of national culture and identity. Rather it is perceived as a reality that has fallen upon Greek society and that has to be accommodated in line with the constitutional principles of Greece and with a view to supporting national interests. Indeed this line of argumentation has many similarities with the arguments put forward in the Parliamentary debates regarding the abolition of article 19 of the Greek citizenship code (Anagnostou 2005). 2.5 The reaction to the Danish cartoon event in Greece Our analysis of how migration-related cultural difference is perceived, constructed and accommodated in Greece could not ignore the recent crisis over the publication of the Mohammed cartoons.10 Although the cartoons were described at some length in the context of providing the background to reactions around the world, no Greek newspaper reprinted the cartoons. The same five dailies as above were reviewed electronically in order to identify all articles that were published on a subject relating to the Mohammed cartoons in 2006: Rizospastis (far left), Eleftherotypia and Ta Nea (centre left), To Vima (mainstream centre left), Kathimerini (mainstream centre right). All 41 articles that were retrieved were published in February 2006. News reports, feature articles and editorials are included in the data set. The Greek press largely approached the crisis from a descriptive viewpoint. The cartoons themselves were described, the reactions of different Muslim countries were presented, the reactions of the Danish and other European governments were also described as were the positions of various newspapers or media groups. These descriptions were imbued with sensationalist and exaggerated adjectives suggestive of the hysteria of those days. The main themes identified in the newspapers were: Demonstrations/protests, actions and reactions; Diplomatic measures and other official actions; EU and the cartoon question; The press and the cartoon question; Religion and the cartoon question. These were reported in the following frequency in the newspapers: Table 2. Overview of newspaper articles on the cartoon debate by thematic cluster and date.
Theme A. Demonstrations/protests, actions and reactions
Newspaper Kathimerini Rizospastis
No. of articles 9 3
For more information on the Mohammed Cartoons crisis and media debates see Kontochristou et al. (2006).
B. Diplomatic measures and other official actions
C. EU and the cartoon question D. The press and the cartoon question
E. Religion and the cartoon question
To Vima Ta Nea Eleftherotypia Kathimerini Rizospastis To Vima Ta Nea Eleftherotypia Rizospastis To Vima Ta Nea Ta Nea Kathimerini Rizospastis To Vima TA Nea Eleftherptypia Kathimerini Rizospastis To Vima Ta Nea Eleftherotypia
1 6 10 5 1 1 3 3 2 1 2 4 5 3 1 5 5 2 3 1 5 5
In a recent study by Kontochristou et al. (2006: 7), their content analysis indicated that reporting on the cartoon crisis was a consistent albeit not dominant feature of coverage. They noted, however, that there was an increase of news reporting, during the days of coverage but especially after the outbreak of the event. The Mohammed cartoon crisis was a front-page story and numerous pages were devoted to the story on the inside pages. A closer look at the titles indicates that emphasis was placed on the violence of the reactions on the part of Muslims worldwide. Anger, Muslim fanaticism, death and intolerance at a global level are highlighted. The second most frequent theme in the headlines was with reference to the freedom of expression either calling for its protection or questioning its limits. With regard to the content of the articles, the study of the Greek news coverage of the Cartoons crisis conducted in the context of this study confirms the findings of Kontochristou et al (2006) suggesting that: (a) violent events or diplomatic actions have a high news value and as such took front place in the Greek media attention placing the Cartoons events in the frontpages and headlines of Greek newspapers; (b) the Cartoons crisis was framed by the newspapers as ideologically neutral: it attracted the attention of both right and left-wing newspapers in Greece roughly equally; (c) the reporting made Muslim authorities and Muslim protesters prominent actors in the discourse. Indeed, the principal attention was focused on the violence, the demonstrations and the protests, as well as the international consequences of the publication of the cartoons in Denmark. The violence of these demonstrations was undoubtedly sensationalized particularly in the more centre-left newspapers not just in the titles but also in the articles as well with detailed accounts of deaths and injuries in various cities (Beirut, Mogadishu, Kabul, Karachi, Jakarta) around the world. The diplomatic measures and official reactions to the crisis world-wide ranked second in terms of most common theme in the press. There was extensive reporting on the reactions of 25
other EU governments and politicians (mainly Denmark, Austria, the UK and Italy) and the statements of EU Commission officials. The refusal of Danish Prime Minister Rasmusen to apologise for the cartoon was one of the main items reported and so were the official statements of French and British politicians expressing their understanding for the offense caused by these cartoons. There was just as much reporting on the reactions of the Turkish government, Indonesia, or Iran where condemnations against the insensitivity cartoons were in most cases followed by quotes expressing anger against the West. The freedoms of the press and questions regarding the limits of the freedom of expression were the third most common theme identified in these articles. There was frequent reference to the positions of journalists, politicians or academics who officially expressed their support to the Danish journalists on the basis of the media’s independence. Interestingly, there are descriptions of which countries or newspapers decided to re-print the cartoons (Kathimerini, 02/02/2006; 04/02/2006; Eleftherotypia 06/02/2006), however, there is only one statement in all the newspapers reviewed on the reasons that led to these cartoons not being reprinted in Greece. Ta Nea (04/02/2006) states that it considered whether or not to re-print the cartoons and argues that: “(…) their publication would have been an appropriate answer to those fanatics who request their prohibition. At the same time, however, reprinting these cartoons several months after their first publication would involve an element of exhibitionism. (…) The important matter here, is the possibility of choice. The truth is that setting limits in cases such as this is not an easy matter. Adherents of a religion cannot claim that because they consider images of the Prophet to be blasphemous then the same should be the case for everyone else. Similarly, images of Mohammed with a bomb as a headscarf are provocative (…) Muslims have a right to protest against these cartoons and boycott the journals that publish them. Anything else, however, is outside the scope of legal protest and falls within the remit of censorship imposed through threat” (translated from Greek). Although in their overwhelming majority the cartoon affair is reported on with a degree of distance as an event happening elsewhere with little direct influence or involvement on the part of Greece, there are some opinion editorials that engage in the cartoon affair in a way that makes it relevant for the Greek situation as well. In one case (Eleftherotypia 06/02/2006), the core theme is the extent to which religion ought to be allowed to censor freedom of expression in a democratic society. Here, religion is approached regardless of faith denominations and its intervention in free speech and artistic expression is deemed illiberal and counter-productive in democratic societies. References are made to condemnations of ‘blasphemy’ on the part of the Christian churches across Europe or specifically in the Greek case the prohibition by the Greek Church for any Greek to watch the “Last Temptation of Christ.” In another case (Ta Nea, 07/02/2006), there is a call to all to not consider the evolution of events as a clash between Christianity and Islam and further strengthen the position of fundamentalists but to realize that this is the result of a tension within Islam (i.e. between moderate and fundamentalist elements). To conclude, in the reporting of the cartoon crisis there is less a domestic debate on the tensions between freedom of the press and sensitivity towards another religion’s symbols and more extensive reporting. The principle of freedom of
expression is the value that appears to be explicitly and implicitly supported in the media reviewed. As regards the reaction by the Muslim actors, the discussion focuses more on the need not to ‘sacrifice’ democratic principles to fundamentalist elements and religious censorship and less on matters of ethic responsibility to not offer gratuitous offense. The Mohammed cartoons are to a degree also considered in bulk with other cases that provoked religious reactions, such as the fatwa against Salman Rushdie for the ‘Satanic Verses’, the condemnation for blasphemy against the Austrian cartoonist Gerhart Hunderer for his book the ‘Life of Christ’, or similarly in Greece against the movie ‘The Last Temptation of Christ.’ This suggests a position of wider rejection against religiously motivated censorship in European democratic societies on the part of the Greek press. This appears to be prioritized over a discussion on the challenge of accommodating religious and cultural sensitivities with rights and freedoms in multicultural Europe since the bulk of the reporting presents this as a confrontation between Europe (almost amalgamated with the West) and the ‘Muslim world’ in the Middle and Far East. 2.6 Conclusion Debates on the accommodation of cultural and religious difference are slowly developing in Greece. The focus of these debates remains, for the time being, concentrated on recognizing the diversity that exists within Greek society and providing for the institutional and public space for it to be expressed. This recognition and hesitant accommodation of cultural diversity is promoted in democratic as well as patriotic ethos by reference to constitutional principles but also as a means to promote national interests. It does not yet fully involve an in-depth debate on how to accommodate these differences in ways that are sensitive to the internal distinctions of the population that does not belong to the majority. For example, the distinctions within the Muslim immigrant population are only gradually being acknowledged and the decision to construct one mosque in Athens that will be able to respond to the religious needs of all Muslims regardless of denomination, national or ethnic background is an indication of this. The fact that most of the cartoon crisis reporting focused on the reactions of fundamentalist Muslims and significantly less on the unease with the offence caused to the moderate Muslim population in both Europe and abroad is another. Clearly, there is no re-consideration of the dominant national self-understanding. Difference is perceived as part of the Greek society but external to the nation. The challenge of migration-related diversity is yet to be fully addressed in institutional terms. Its integration into the self-definition of the nation however is for the time being not even raised as a public issue.
CHAPTER 3 Greek Education Policy and the Challenge of Migration. An Intercultural View of Assimilation 3.1 Introduction Education is an instrument of social integration and a means through which to construct identity. Access to information and knowledge influences access to employment, socio-economic integration and development. At the same time, education is also a tool through which identity, perceptions and understandings, real or imagined, are developed. The way that the dominant cultural majority frames the educational system and the values that it propagates through schooling (methods, curricula, etc), expresses and determines perceptions of own identity and understandings of the ‘other.’ Just as it can be inclusive, and a vehicle through which to promote principles of social cohesion, solidarity, and equality, it can equally propagate prejudice, stereotypes, perceptions of cultural confrontation, superiority, or discrimination. Thus, the challenge for a heterogeneous society is to meet raised expectations for educational policies that are able to respond to the needs of the entire student population. In short, for educational policies that are culturally sensitive, that enhance educational, socialization and personal development opportunities for students of all communities. The last two decades of immigration have significantly, and irreversibly, altered the social, cultural, economic, ethnic, racial and religious characteristics of the population residing within Greece. In this chapter, explore educational challenges posed by migration-related diversity in Greece. Faced with increasing and changing diversity as a result of immigration, Greek society and the state have been called to respond, adapt and formulate adequate policies through which to manage these transformations. The education sector is probably one of the most sensitive and politically charged areas of public policy because of its determining role in identity formation, national cohesion and national consciousness. It is equally one of the most important sectors in socio-economic terms since it determines access to the job market, personal and economic development. Against this background, the core questions that we explore are: how has inter-cultural education been designed in Greece in response to growing immigration? How is it perceived to relate to Greek identity? What are the main objectives of Greek educational policy as regards contemporary Greek society overall and the immigrant population in particular? Are these changing, and if so in what direction? Are there differences in perception on the part of the various stakeholders? In addition to these core questions, we also consider the European dimension in order to explore to what extent, if at all, it has been relevant in the development of an intercultural/multicultural approach in education? This chapter starts with a brief discussion of the Greek educational system and the most recent efforts to reform it. This presents the wider context within which intercultural education has developed and where provisions for non-mother tongue students have been adopted. In section 3 we briefly present the migrant and co ethnic school population in Greece reviewing the major problems of the system, as these are explored and discussed in the existing literature in Greece. Section 4 concentrates on the field research conducted in the context of the EMILIE project and discusses our main findings. In the concluding section, we highlight the policy relevance of our
findings and put forward some ideas for the reform of the existing system and for the introduction of an intercultural approach in the Greek education system. 3.2 The Greek educational system: New pedagogical orientations since the 1980s The Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs is responsible for the Greek education system, its administration and its policies. This is complemented by the Primary and Secondary Education Directorates at the Regional Level and the Offices at the Prefectural Regional Level. The current educational system and policy was set up by the 1976 educational policy that was introduced with the new Constitution, and by a series of reforms during the 1980s aimed at, among other priorities, modernizing the curricula and the textbooks and introducing foreign language lessons from primary school level. The Greek education system is highly centralized with the Ministry of Education and the Pedagogical Institute responsible for the curriculum, the school timetable and distribution of classes, the material and textbooks and the employment of teachers. The educational system has suffered from chronic under-funding, and has been described as having a history of ‘educational conservatism’ due to the country’s nation-building effort and the primary role of education in political socialization and the formulation of a solid, common identity (Dimitrakopoulos 2004: 11). Since the 1980s there has been extensive discussion both through debates in the public (media, press) and the political (Parliamentary debates, and within the Ministry of Education) spheres, of the need to reform the educational system. Discussions have concentrated not only on the need to reform the institutional framework and relevant legislation, but equally to review and revise the dominant approach to education. Particularly since the mid 1990s, the discourse has been phrased in terms of needing to change the ‘educational philosophy’ in order for Greek students (a) to be able to compete in an increasingly globalised and competitive environment; and (b) to be able to successfully integrate within the European Union. These arguments have been expressed by representatives and politicians from across the political spectrum suggesting a consensus on the need to reform and to benefit from access to EU community funds to financially support the costs associated with reform. Moreover, academics and researchers in the field of education have extensively argued for the current assimilative educational policies to be replaced by an educational system more appropriate and better suited to the changing environment. The arguments essentially concentrate on: a system that will be less ethnocentric than the current one; that would enable the recognition and communication with other cultures and civilizations; and that will be able to promote respect for diversity avoid stereotypes and prejudice (see Paleologou 2004 for more) The intention has been there to modernize the framework and to adapt it to the changing international environment. How has this translated in practice? The first dimension has involved the structures and methods of the educational system. Laws 2525/97 and 2640/98 reformed the educational system in Greece in 1997-1998. The former concentrated on the Comprehensive Lykeio (High School),11 the establishment of day-long pre- and elementary school, ‘second’ opportunity schools, the enrolment list of teachers to be appointed, the modernization of the
Secondary education is separated in two autonomous three-year cycles Gymnasium and Lyceum. Compulsory education is nine years, ie. until the end of Gymnasium.
Pedagogical Institute, a system with which to evaluate educational achievement and educators, the creation of an Open University, and the enrichment of curricula and departments of Universities (see Bouzakis & Koustourakis 2002: 158). The latter, concentrated on Secondary Technical-Vocational education through institutionalizing Technical-Vocational Schools. The second dimension has involved the development of intercultural education. There are two components within this. One has to do with the need to respond to and address the educational, cultural, linguistic needs principally of the Greek Muslim minority mainly concentrated in the north-east of the country, and to a lesser degree of the Roma population.12 These initiatives fall outside the scope of this chapter. The other component has to do with the need to respond to and address the educational, cultural, and linguistic needs of the new arrivals; in short, of the repatriates and their descendants, and of the foreign nationals who have been arriving and settling in Greece since the early 1990s. These needs were mainly addressed through the creation of reception classes. Reception classes were first set up in gymnasiums and lyceums in the 1980s, particularly in the Thessaloniki area for the children of Greek returnees (Markou 1993). It was not until the mid 1990s that a more comprehensive legislative framework was developed with the aim to respond to the changing educational needs of contemporary Greek society. Law 2416/96 set the foundations for intercultural education in Greece. It established nineteen intercultural schools as a special category of schools and institute reception classes for students with little or no knowledge of Greek (Paleologou 2004). The section below discusses the approach to inter-cultural education in Greece and the main axes of its development. 3.3 Greece’s immigrant school population Greek educational policy is based on the principles enshrined in the Greek Constitution, the international (UNESCO) and regional (European) conventions on the rights of children, the principles of non-discrimination and the right to an education. The legislative framework guarantees schooling for all children, citizen or foreign, from the age of 6 to the age of 15. This compulsory education is applicable to all children regardless of the status of legality or illegality of the parents. Art 40 of the 2910/2001 law stipulates that all children born to third-country nationals living in Greece are obliged and have the right to this compulsory education. In fact, school authorities should enroll foreign students even if they do not have the necessary documents, such as school certificates required for enrollment. This law also provides for the possibility of offering mother-tongue learning in addition to the core curriculum – on the basis of an Inter-Ministerial decision to be issued by the Ministries of Interior and Education – albeit this provision of the law has not been implemented.
The Greek-Turkish Protocols of 1954 and 1968 and Law 19 of 1972 set the framework for bilingual education for the Muslim minority in Thrace. Since 1997, the Ministry of Education has invested significant funds, personnel and programmes in improving the standards and methods of the education provided to the Muslim youths in the north-east while trying to address the challenges of encouraging intercultural education and avoiding effective segregation between the majority and minority populations in these regions, (Damanakis 2005, also http://www.museduc.gr/index.php ).
According to data provided by the Institute for the Greek Diaspora Education and Intercultural Studies (IPODE)13 in 2006, 138,193 students fell in the categories foreign or co-ethnics and returnees. This translates into 9.5% of the total school population.
Table 3. Breakdown of foreign and repatriated pupils in Greek public schools during the academic year 2006-07.
Schooling level Foreign pupils Repatriated (Coethnic and returnees) pupils 763 7,130 6,208 3,444 3,335 20,880 SUBTOTAL of immigrant TOTAL of all (foreign and (including Greek) repatriated) students pupils as a % of total 93,071 586,884 326,951 208,021 86,668 1,301,595
Kindergarten Primary Gymnasium Lyceum Technical Schools Total
7,611 54,415 30,607 9,436 7,413 109,482
Source: Institute for the Greek Diaspora Education and Intercultural Studies (IPODE) [http://www.ipode.gr/default.asp?FILE=items/1160/7, accessed 27 March 2009]
In this study we look at both foreign students (i.e. children of foreign nationality whose parents are immigrants in Greece) and co-ethnic returnee students, that is students whose parents came to Greece as co-ethnic returnees. The second category are Greek citizens but Greek is not their mother-tongue and they face problems of school failure, and higher drop out rates than native Greeks. According to data from the Institute for the Greek Diaspora Education and Intercultural Studies (IPODE, http://www.ipode.gr/ ), 42.7% of foreign pupils have been living in Greece during the past six years, while 57.3% have been living in Greece for under five years (Hellenic Regional Development Centre 2007: 55). Regarding the distribution of foreign students in Greek schools, 35.6% of schools in Greece have no foreign pupils enrolled. By contrast, the highest concentration of immigrant students is found in the Athens metropolitan area where immigrant and coethnic students are about 12 % of the total school population (op.cit.: 56). A recent
According to law 2413/1996, article 5, IPODE’s objective is to conduct research and studies on educational issues pertaining to Greek education abroad and intercultural schools in Greece. It has been responsible for collecting data relevant to expatriated Greek pupils and foreign/ repatriated students in Greece since 2001.
study (Voulalas 2007) has shown that although overall completion of the lower secondary education level has steadily increased during the last twenty years, the overall completion percentage in Greece remains low (below 85%) if compared with other European countries. Moreover, the difference between the graduation rates of Greeks and immigrants was found to be higher than 20% in the lower secondary level and higher than 40% in the higher secondary level. 3.4 Research Design and Methodology The research for this chapter was conducted in the context of WP3 of the EMILIE project. A literature review of primary and secondary sources in Greek and English was conducted by the authors followed by a four-month period of fieldwork during the months April-July 2007. We conducted a literature review of articles, books and papers written in Greek and English on the Greek educational system, its approaches and the development of its intercultural dimension. We also looked at articles and opinions that have been published on websites of research institutes and civil society associations, and in mainstream newspapers. We used the on-line archives of four mainstream newspapers (Kathimerini, Ta Nea, Eleftherotypia, Rizospastis) to identify articles published since 2004 on intercultural education and the challenges faced by immigrant students in Greek schools. We have extensively referred to relevant research published by the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (IMEPO) and to the publications and statistics published by IPODE. Finally, we consulted samples of the school manuals and textbooks that have been produced by the Ministry of Education and the Pedagogical Institute in the context of the inter-cultural education programmes (EPEAK) mentioned above. With regard to the empirical research, this included: qualitative interviews with policy makers and teachers; informal discussions with actors involved in or having a stake in intercultural education; and two discussion groups. Interviews with policy makers were conducted on the basis of an interview guide that was drafted by the EMILIE team and subsequently translated into Greek (see table below). These interviews were conducted by the authors either together or individually and each lasted between 45 minutes and 75 minutes approximately. The scope of the research project and reason for the interview was presented by the authors from the start and all interviews were taped with the interviewees’ permission. The taping was subsequently transcribed and analysed. Some officials interviewed were not comfortable with the tape-recorded so in three interviews a tape recorded was not used and only notes by the interviewers were taken. A total of 14 interviews (9 of which were taped) were conducted in this context and a detailed list is included in Annex I to this chapter. In order to explore this project’s core focus, namely how difference is understood, defined and catered for in the education policy domain we first of all sought interviews with policy makers directly involved with education policy. We thus interviewed four high-ranking officials from the headquarters of the Ministry of Education (the Director of Primary School Education, the Director of Secondary School Education, the Head (Proistameni) of Secondary School Education; and the Director for European Affairs). We also interviewed two officials from IPODE (the Director of Research and a Research Associate) and a School Counsellor who is an expert in Intercultural Education from the Pedagogical Institute (the independent
institution that oversees the drafting and revisions of all education materials for primary and secondary education). We interviewed the heads of two District Offices (for reasons of anonymity, the numbers of these offices are withheld) of the First Directorate of the Athens metropolitan area, who are responsible for secondary education in central neighbourhoods of Athens with a high concentration of immigrant students. The Ministry directorate for secondary education is divided into regional directorates which in turn are divided into district offices. These district offices are responsible for the implementation of the legislation regarding the creation of support classes. By contrast, prefectures have been entrusted with the task of organising the teaching of the culture and language of origin. Our aim in these interviews has been to get a deeper understanding of how the policy is administered in practice. While our research does not look at the school level, it does take into account the ways in which middle and high rank officials understand the current situation of an important ethnic and cultural diversity within the Greek school population. It also examines how they interpret the law and the related objectives of Greek secondary education policy with regard to dealing with this diversity, and last but not least, whether and how they take steps to make sure that these objectives are achieved. The interview material was complemented by insightful interviews with the president of the Research Centre (KEMETE) of the Federation of State School Teachers in Secondary Education (OLME), and the headmistress of an Intercultural Gymnasium in the Athens. Two University professors (one from Athens and one from Thessaloniki) who hold important positions in the national action programmes for intercultural education (EPEAK) were also interviewed. The interview guide was used flexibly. Each interviewee was asked to comment on the following issues in relation to her/his tasks and experience: a) their definition and understanding of the school population, how it has changed and in what ways initiatives taken under the heading of ‘intercultural education’ respond to these changes; b) the aims of intercultural education; c) their overall understanding of integration through education (in this context, definitions of ‘difference’, ‘national identity’, ‘integration’ and ‘assimilation’ were considered in more detail); d) the performance of intercultural schools; e) the scope and nature of the educational material and teacher training initiatives that have been developed by the special programmes on intercultural education; f) the aims of reception and tutorial classes, their organization and methods; g) their views on language as a tool for social integration; h) the future development of educational policy and its intercultural dimension, as well as an assessment of its successes and failures. Table 4. Interview guide used to Interview Policy Makers in Greece, EMILIE.
Final outline: 24 April 2007. Outline in English (the guide is also available in Greek, please write to the first author) Introduction: 1. What is your main task in the Ministry/Pedagogical Institute/IPODE? 2. How long have you been in this position and how has your work evolved during this time? What are the main challenges in your work today? Migration-related cultural diversity:
How would you describe the school population in this country? Prompts: ethno-cultural composition 4. What are, in your opinion, the main policy measures taken by the state to address the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in schools today? Prompts: the presence of Muslim students 5. To what extent have these measures succeeded? What are their major strengths and weaknesses? Prompts: how to improve the current situation / how to define intercultural education and intercultural schools 6. How do you see schools evolving in the next ten years, with special reference to ethno-cultural and religious diversity? 7. Have the main objectives of education changed in recent years because of the presence of immigrant and co-ethnic returnee students in schools? In what ways? 8. Do immigrant and co-ethnic returnee students have special educational needs and what are these needs in your opinion and how have these been addressed? Prompts: implementation of Article 72 of 2005 Immigration Law Europe: 9. How important do you think a European dimension in education is? Prompts: how to define Europe / European dimension 10. Should schools promote national and/or European values? Can you give me examples of such values that are important in the curriculum? Prompts: compatibility of these sets of values / how are they taught in schools 11. ‘Teaching/education should include both a European and an intercultural dimension’. What do you make of this statement? Prompts: is this addressed in current curricula / how to address this ideally 12. What do you think about the current attention given to European issues compared with national and/or multicultural issues in the curriculum and textbooks? Prompts: policy, curriculum strategies if any / are you getting the balance right 13. Which of these three issues/dimensions/identities (i.e. national, multicultural, European) would you say the curriculum should promote and why? Prompts: in which school subjects / why one or two or all three 14. How should schools respond to the presence of students from diverse (ethno-cultural and religious) backgrounds, European and non-European? Prompts: strategies you suggest / does it matter where pupils come from Civic cohesion and identity: 15. How do you define citizenship and what sort of citizens do you think schools should aim to create? Prompts: how to define Greekness / inclusive or exclusive model, multicultural citizenship / has view changed over past decades 16. How can schools today respect cultural and religious diversity among students and at the same time promote a common bond within school and society at large? Prompts: how problematic are the terms ‘foreigner’ and ‘alien’ / role of religion in schools and education today / role of language learning to create cohesion 17. Is there anything you would like to add to our discussion?
We also conducted several informal discussions with a view to mapping the education policy field and understanding who were the appropriate informants for the scope of our study. These discussions included phone or email exchanges with policy actors, teachers, researchers, migrant activists. Lastly, two discussion groups were organized in June 2007, one with teachers and staff of intercultural schools and one with immigrant students enrolled in intercultural schools. These discussion groups were organized in the form of a half day event on intercultural education under the initiative and with the joint effort of the ELIAMEP team and a small group of high school teachers of the Intercultural Gymnasium of Athens (2nd Gymnasium of Athens). The workshop was entitled “Multicultural Education: Educational and Teaching Experiences” and was aimed at exchanging experiences between teachers involved in intercultural education,
identifying best-practices and challenges commonly faced.14 The entire workshop was taped and the discussions were transcribed and subsequently analysed. 3.5 Findings Our empirical research aimed to generate primary material which would help us better understand the educational challenges posed by migration related diversity in Greece. We also aimed at studying the policy measures adopted in this context and the related debates, in order to assess the extent to which these measures have responded to the changing needs of the Greek school population. We questioned how concepts such as ‘intercultural education’, ‘diversity’, ‘identity’, ‘culture’ and ‘integration’ were interpreted by policy makers and educators. In the first part of this section we discuss the origins and development of intercultural education policy in Greece. In the section that follows we discuss the meaning of the term intercultural and the ways in which it is implemented in Greek education policy. In other words we seek to provide some insight into the different strands of the ‘intercultural’ in Greece which range between a dialogue between cultures and a full assimilation perspective while generally ideas of political multiculturalism are rejected (Modood 2006). To conclude, we put forward a critical assessment of the tools and methods used to address the challenges of migration-related cultural diversity in Greek schools and present proposals for future policies. 3.5.1 Intercultural education policy: origins and development During the 1970s and 1980s, intercultural education was developed primarily with the intention to integrate the children of repatriates mainly from Germany, and also from the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa. As mentioned above, this mainly took the form of facilitating their grading (average grade was calculated out of 8 and not 10/10), reception classes and tutorial/support classes. Over the 1980s this repatriation trickled down in intensity and was replaced by repatriation of ethnic Greeks and immigrants from Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Republics (Damanakis 2005). Law 1894/1990 revised the 1404/1983 legislation on reception classes, incorporated these classes in the mainstream public school system15 and focused on Greek language, culture and history courses for pupils who did not have Greek as their mother-tongue. The initial priority of integrating co14 15
The programme of the workshop and the minutes are available at the EMILIE web site:
There are two categories of reception classes. The first type includes groups of students who are taught Greek language and some core other classes and who are joined with the other classes for gymnastics, music and foreign language courses. The maximum period during which a student can be enrolled in these reception courses is two years and the decision to enrol a child in these classes is taken by the school in collaboration with the parents. For the academic year 2002-2003, 548 reception classes of this type were organised with 7,863 foreign students enrolled. 39.05% of these were organised in the Athens metropolitan area and 27.4% were organised in the region of Central Macedonia. The second type does not involve separate classes but takes the form of support classes and tutorials on the part of teachers who give special attention to foreign students, thus permitting them to follow class with the rest of the pupils. For the same academic year, 127 support classes catered to the needs of 1,663 students with the highest rates in Central Macedonia (35.4%), Attica (15%), and the southern Aegean and Crete with about 11% (Hellenic Regional Development Centre 2007: 59-60).
ethnics and returnees was impregnated by an underlying logic of re-integration and thus of assimilation (since it was perceived to be directed towards returning Greeks), particularly through the teaching of the Greek language. Moreover, the fact that in their overwhelming majority, the returnees from the ex-Soviet Union and Albania rejected the linguistic and cultural elements that they brought with them in order to integrate into Greek society further legitimized the dominant assimilatory approach (Markou 1993). As this study suggests, the assimilation approach of the early phases continues to define Greek educational policy today even though the overwhelming majority of the immigrant population in Greece does not fall within the co-ethnic, returnee category (Triandafyllidou and Gropas 2007). The increase of immigration from the former Soviet republics (Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Russia) and Southeast Europe (especially Albania and Bulgaria), required new legislation and ministerial acts in order to organize appropriate primary and secondary schooling units. In 1999 a Ministerial Act (Ministry of Education) adopted new provisions regarding reception and support classes in order to respond to increasing schooling needs. Such classes are organized in schools with at least nine pupils with no or a limited knowledge of the Greek language. Both reception and support classes form part of public schools, the former operate in parallel with normal teaching hours, and concentrate on the teaching of Greek as a foreign language. Reception classes can only last for two years. At the end of this period, children are integrated into the mainstream classes. Support classes can last for longer and they are aimed to cater for the needs of children who did not benefit from reception classes or who did benefit from reception classes but still face problems related to their poor level of Greek. The organization and evaluation of these classes is well spelled out in the Act and there is a provision that in the absence of Greek teachers, foreign teachers can teach them. The same Act leaves the initiative to organise mother-tongue classes to the prefectures. The Act does not define the budget line that prefectures would utilize to pay for such classes and to the best of our knowledge no such initiative has been taken by prefectures. By contrast, our fieldwork has revealed that there have been sporadic initiatives by teachers and parents to organise classes of Albanian, Ukrainian and Arabic language in downtown Athens high schools. However, such classes have usually lasted for a couple of years (some did not even go beyond a few meetings) because of the practical problems (they operated unofficially in the evening in public high schools) as well as because the immigrant parents’ working hours were such that they could not bring their children to the classes, outside the normal school hours. The 1996 legislation (2413/1996) was the first institutional measure taken in the direction of inter-cultural education. The legislation referred to the establishment of inter-cultural schools for the education of ‘pupils with special educational, social, and cultural needs’. It also established (part B, art.5) IPODE, the Institute for the Education of Co-Ethnic Returnees and for Intercultural Education (Iνστιτούτο Παιδείας Οµογενών και ∆ιαπολιτισµικής Εκπαίδευσης) as a semi-autonomous institute within the Ministry of Education. It is worth noting that the tasks and resources entrusted to IPODE have more to do with the education of Greeks abroad than with providing for the needs of immigrant children16 in Greece. However, IPODE together
In this paper we use the terms foreign pupils/students, immigrant pupils/students and non-Greek mother tongue pupils interchangeably although these terms are not completely synonymous. In terms of educational policies and needs, the term adopted is non-Greek mother tongue pupils which includes children who are Greek citizens from co-ethnic returnee families and children of foreign citizenship. The terms immigrant and foreign students are still used as roughly synonymous in Greece since there
with the Pedagogical Institute are responsible for issuing textbooks and other educational materials to be used in intercultural schools as well as in reception and support classes. Since 1996, a total of 26 inter-cultural (also referred to as cross-cultural) schools have been established across Greece. Thirteen are primary schools, nine are junior high schools and four are senior high schools. Out of a total of 15,174 state schools (from pre- to high school), these inter-cultural schools correspond to about 0.17% of the total. By contrast, the percentage of non Greek mother tongue pupils in Greek schools has reached the level of 9.5%. Though this legislation indicates the government recognition of the specific educational needs of different communities, a decade later, it remains rather general and vague as to the specific objectives of inter-cultural education. Law 2413/1996, article 34 (as cited in the Greek Ministry’s 2006 EURYDICE report, section 5.20.3) stipulates that:
“The aim of Intercultural Education is to organize and enable primary and secondary education schools to offer education to young people with educational, social and cultural particularities. [..] In Diapolitismika Scholeia (Intercultural Education Schools) the curriculum of their counterpart state schools is applied, adapted to the particular educational, social and cultural needs of their pupils.”
Intercultural schools in principle follow the curriculum and annual study programme of mainstream schools. However, in line with law 2413/1996, they benefit from a significant degree of autonomy in order to respond to the special needs of the foreign student population. This autonomy in practice consists in not being obliged to cover the entire curriculum as other schools are expected to with a view to paying more attention to Greek language learning and the overall process of smooth integration of foreign pupils to the school environment. By law these schools may have special educational materials. Specific supporting educational programmes (see EPEAK below) implemented by the Capodistrian University of Athens initially (1997-2001) and later by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2001-2004 and 2004-2007) have provided for books and audiovisual support materials aimed initially at intercultural schools only but later diffused to a large number of mainstream schools who responded to the call for participating in the programme. However, these books are discontinued in their production during the last couple of years. During the previous academic year (2006-07), teachers at intercultural schools (I5) would photocopy at the school’s expense the intercultural educational material that is out of print in order to provide for the students’ needs. In addition to the standard curriculum, intercultural schools can provide courses on the language and culture of the country of origin of the foreign students up to 4 hours per week. They may also teach Greek to the students’ parents, inform them about the Greek educational system, and encourage their participation in school activities in order to further integrate foreign students in the school and wider community life (Hellenic Regional Development Centre 2007: 62-63). Student festivals, plays, events, and awards particularly themed on human rights, non-
as yet no provisions for the second generation to acquire Greek citizenship through a preferential path. Thus both children who came with their families and children who were born in Greece of foreign parents are categorised legally as foreigners and immigrants. The colloquial term used is immigrant rather than foreign children though while the term non-Greek mother tongue pupils is confined to the research and educators’ community jargon.
discrimination, equality (gender and other) and the fight against exclusion, racism and xenophobia are also organized and supported by the state authorities through funding. Concomitantly to the above legislative framework, three large scale educational programmes were launched during the period 1997-2004 in collaboration with Greek universities and financially supported by the European Commission. These programmes referred to through their acronym EPEAK (Επιχειρησιακό Πρόγραµµα Εκπαίδευσης και Αρχικής Κατάρτισης – ΕΠΕΑΚ)17 related to three different sets of students: pupils belonging to the Muslim minority, Roma pupils and repatriated and foreign students. These EPEAK were conceived in order to develop an intercultural dimension within the educational system; provide the pupils falling within these categories with the opportunity to benefit from education, participate more actively in society while maintaining their cultural specificities; and promote exchange among students and interaction between their cultural backgrounds (see the relevant website: http://www.epeaek.gr/epeaek/el/a_2_1.html; and Paleologou 2004: 323). It goes without saying that these 26 intercultural schools do not meet the current needs of foreign pupils that account for approximately a tenth of the school population (see table below for more details). For one, this foreign student population is dispersed across the country in both urban and rural areas; therefore, only a very small portion of it is enrolled in the intercultural schools. The remaining majority is enrolled and attends mainstream primary and secondary schools (gymnasium and lyceum) creating a de facto multicultural school population in schools.18 It is worth noting that for a school to be identified as an inter-cultural one, at least 45% of its student body must be non-Greek, however not all schools with at least 45% of immigrant students are identified as intercultural. The above described situation has resulted in a number of mutually reinforcing consequences in Greek schools, intercultural or mainstream. First, teachers and school staff have seen their work become more difficult. They have been in many cases unable to respond to the educational, cultural, linguistic, religious or ethnic specificities and needs of their class due to lack of training, material or support from the Ministerial authorities (DG1). They have also felt the quality of the teaching deteriorate and school conditions degrade not least due to the ‘flight’ of Greek students away from schools where percentages of immigrant students enrolled have increased, and towards private schools or public schools in neighbourhoods with lower immigrant populations. In effect, although some schools situated in neighbourhoods with high immigrant populations (such as in downtown Athens in the districts of Gazi, Vathi square, Kypseli, Petralona) surpass the 45% threshold of foreign students, nevertheless, there is no initiative to characterize additional schools as intercultural mainly because of a concern that it will lead to an even larger fall in attendance of Greek pupils (Kathimerini 31/3/2007). Recent studies show that a large number of immigrant students experience school failure and other school-related problems (Nicolaou 2000). Also, a
These programmes were initially conceived for the period 1997-2001 and were renewed in 2002. There are also a number of foreign schools in Greece that operate on the basis of bilateral treaties and in their majority, though not exclusively, enrol children of embassy and corporate personnel (for example there is the French Lyceum, German High School, Japanese school, etc). The Filipino and Polish schools were created by Filipino and Polish immigrants respectively who came to Greece on guest worker schemes in the 1980s and the Inter-Cultural Day Care Centre was set up by immigrants from Sierra Leone in order to assist African immigrant families who cannot afford day-care (see Dimitrakopoulos 2004: 35-36).
disproportionate number of immigrant students fail to complete the lower high school grade (gymnasium) and even more numerous fail to complete the upper high school grade (lyceum) (Voulalas 2007). School principals interviewed in the late 1990s (Bombas 1996; 2001) reported the students’ lack of language fluency and their general cultural adaptation problems as the main issues. Bombas (op.cit.) and Dimakos and Tasiopoulou (2003) as well as our own interviews (I3) show that attitudes of students and school principals towards immigrant pupils are at best neutral and more often negative. Our fieldwork (I6) suggests that school teachers consider that immigrant pupils contribute to decreasing the overall educational attainment of schools and occasions were noted when some principals even obstructed the enrolment of immigrant pupils in their schools with formal excuses in order to prevent the ‘degradation’ of their school’s educational reputation. This leads to the second reality, that of a growing number of parents belonging to the majority population becoming increasingly uneasy with the falling standards of schooling19 in public schools in areas with high immigrant populations. The result is that Greek students are either sent to private schools that immigrants cannot afford or are moved to public schools of nearby neighbourhoods creating a noticeable line of ethnic division within the school system between ‘majority-Greek’ and ‘majorityforeign’ schools. Some immigrant parents also resent sending their children to majority-foreign schools for two reasons. First, because they too fear that these schools fair worse than majority-Greek ones thereby not offering their children better long-term opportunities, and second, they do not wish to see their children ghettoized. At the same time some of the ‘inter-cultural schools’ have become all-foreigner schools since Greek parents and pupils quickly abandoned them.20 These developments are not constructive for the promotion of an intercultural approach to education. Moreover, this risks in increasing the discomfort of low-income Greek parents, or parents who live in areas with significant immigrant populations who are concerned of the potential consequences of deteriorating education for their children’s future, leading them to an overall discomfort with immigration and multicultural societies (Ankara Paper 14). Our fieldwork (DG1 and DG2, see also http://6dim-diapelefth.thess.sch.gr/main.htm ) has shown though that in some cases, schools have been able to invert such a trend and keep or even increase the number of their Greek pupils while also catering for the needs of non Greek mother tongue students. These, however, should be seen as an exception that confirms the rule. Third, intercultural education becomes in a sense distinguished from the mainstream educational system. As Damanakis noted already a decade ago (1997: 85) the logic of intercultural education in Greece has been that of separation rather than of catering to the special needs of the students as the law purports. The existence of a specific number of intercultural schools is an insufficient measure towards promoting an intercultural curriculum that is relevant for the entire school population in Greece (including the majority Greek pupils). It makes inter-cultural education formally relevant only for the 26 schools that are identified as such, and not for the remaining 99.8% of the schooling units. Given that school is a socializing institution that
Lack of knowledge of the Greek language, or arrivals and enrollments at different times within the school year on the part of the immigrant students has led to delays and disruptions of classes and curricula taught, leading many parents to feel concerned about their children’s education and decide to pull them out and invest in private education establishments. 20 Intercultural schools in Thessalonike have a mixed population with Greek pupils being the majority while intercultural schools in the Athens metropolitan area have an overwhelming majority of non Greek mother tongue pupils (Trouki and Panagopoulos 2006).
prepares youths for their integration in the wider society, the absence of a more comprehensive intercultural dimension in all mainstream schooling units is problematic. It is problematic for longer term social cohesion and, it does little to further a shift in perceptions among the majority population in seeing Greek society as more diverse, multicultural and inclusive. Tellingly, during our fieldwork preparation phase, when making contacts with the Ministry of Education and its district branches to talk about the intercultural dimension of Greek education policy and practice, the first reaction of most officials was that this was not part of their responsibility and that we had to talk to IPODE only or mainly (I7, I8, and I9). In this rather gloomy assessment of the intercultural dimension in Greek education, we need to acknowledge the work accomplished during the last decade by the National Action programmes (EPEAK) supporting the intercultural dimension of education in mainstream schools. The EPEAK programme has involved 188 schools as official partners to the programme (recruited through an open call for expression of interest). The University professor responsible for the project (I4) however notes that probably as many as 300 schools have got in touch with the programme through the spontaneous participation of teachers from non-affiliated schools to the training seminars21 organized by the programme. However as she (I4) noted special programmes cannot be a long term solution – their aim is targeted to exploring, testing and developing appropriate policy proposals (I7) that should then be adopted by the Ministry as mainstream policy approaches. A final dimension of intercultural education that needs to be considered in this context is the European one. In the latter half of the twentieth century, educational policy reforms added the European level to the dominant Greek narrative through the European Union (EU). The European dimension is formally based on the following core EEC/EU acts and legislation: the 1986 Single Act; the resolution on the European dimension in education (24 May 1988); the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992 (and in particular art 126 and 127); the 1993 Green Bible on the EU dimension in education and the 1995 White Paper on education and vocational training (see Damanakis 2005). Moreover, Greece is bound to EU directive 77/486/EEC regarding the education of students of another EU member state and the obligation to provide immigrant students with mother-tongue classes in addition to the main curriculum. Although the formal framework is there, empirical research and surveys have indicated that until the late 1990s, the EU and core political and economic issues of European integration were very much absent from the school curricula. In fact, research on the subject concluded that concepts, attitudes and expectations of younger generations of Greeks regarding the EU had been formulated in spite of the absence of relevant material, information and analysis in the textbooks (KontogiannopoulouPolydorides et al 2000: 290). Over the past decade, however, Greece has significantly extended and expanded its participation in EU educational programmes in primary and secondary education, education cooperation and teacher exchange schemes, and transnational projects of placement and exchange concerning vocational training (for example, SOCRATES, LEONARDO, LINGUA, COMENIUS, ARION, etc). This participation has contributed to the development of a European dimension in Greek education and of a European layer as part of Greek identity in a positive manner. Nonetheless, its potential is considered to have been restricted by the inflexibility of school curricula and the educational system overall (Diamantopoulou 2006: 139).
For more information see: http://web.auth.gr/eppas/ .
In 2003, the Ministry of Education integrated intercultural and European dimensions in its mainstream educational programme. The principles of “Enhancing cultural and linguistic identity within a multicultural society” were published in the Government Gazette (II, 303/13303). This initiative concentrated on further promoting mutual understanding and cooperation with other European societies, enriching the Greek and other European societies with the integration of individuals and groups of other cultures (in order to expand cultural diversity). It also aimed at promoting the respect for and development of cultural and linguistic diversity along with the respect for national and cultural identity. The adoption of an intercultural approach led the Ministry to encourage multi-disciplinary methodologies to be adopted in the teaching of history, geography, literature, second and third foreign language classes in secondary schools (and in part in primary schools), and an optional study programme of two hours weekly for general debates on subjects including European identity, globalization and multiculturalism (Hellenic Regional Development Centre 2007: 64). These efforts appear to have gained rather restricted ground at the level of day-to-day implementation of the school curricula as they are often used to complement missed hours of teaching mainstream courses. In the course of the interviews conducted, when discussing the relationship between European and intercultural dimensions in education policy or practice, none of the interviewees considered the two as somehow related. It was clear to most of our interviewees from the different branches of the Ministry of Education (I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I12) that the intercultural dimension – referring specifically to the successful integration into the school system of children whose parents are economic immigrants or coethnic returnees from former Soviet Republics or Albania – is a big challenge for the Greek education policy today. On the contrary, none of our interviewees perceived the European dimension as a challenge. Rather, this was seen as a fait accompli: Greece belongs to the EU since 1981, it adopts the EU directives, it shares values, laws and policies with other EU countries. Hence, it was underlined that there is no contradiction between European and Greek values, nor were there any tensions perceived in educating young adolescents into becoming both Greek and European citizens. When further tried by our question about whether students from the new member states are perceived as more or less European than students from old member states, most of the interviewees admitted that the stereotypical perception of the EU included still only western Europe. This is relevant in the Greek context given that a sizeable portion of the immigrant population is from newer EU Member States. To our surprise our interviewees from the headquarters of the Ministry (I7, I8, I9, I10, I11) did not perceive the intercultural education as a major challenge either. They argued that the Greek state protects all children regardless of their parents’ legal status (which is indeed true) and provides for their schooling with simplified registration procedures (i.e. a child can be enrolled even if the parents do not provide the school with a home address, and missing or incomplete identity documents may be presented to the school as late as the following academic year). Our informants noted that the state guarantees the students’ equality at school by accepting each child regardless of their and their family’s formal or legal status into the free public education system. For these interviewees, the intercultural dimension was not an issue because in their opinion the aim of public schooling – and indeed a worthy and desirable aim in their view – is that foreign students are assimilated into Greek culture and society (I8).
The background of Greek national identity formation and the dominant nationalism discourses still relevant to this day (Triandafyllidou 2007) make for a rather set mono-ethnic understanding of identity and, the dimensions outlined above are fundamental components of the Greek educational system. Consequently, attempts to engage in reforms have to address rather strong institutional and normative resistance to change. This explains why efforts to manage and integrate migrationrelated diversity in education are essentially understood in fairly assimilationist terms. In the following section we shall critically discuss the use of the term ‘inter-cultural’ in education research and policy discourses in Greece as well as how the policies described above are interpreted by policy makers and actors on the ground. 3.5.2 Assessing the methods and tools of intercultural education Turning to the methods and tools of intercultural education, our research highlighted the following core issues: First, mother-tongue learning has been rather restricted so far. The subject of teaching the mother-tongue language or the culture of origin to foreign pupils, has not been considered to be a priority since learning Greek is considered as the key vehicle to integration. Knowledge of the language of their country of residence is fundamental in avoiding social exclusion first of all, and consequently exclusion from the job market or other opportunities for professional and personal development after school. However, in agreement with much of the literature on intercultural education (Paleologou 2004), teachers interviewed supported mother-tongue learning and the development of corresponding instruction material as a valuable learning method. They also note that children who know their mother tongue well have a solid basis for learning quickly and correctly the Greek language as the main language of reference for educational purposes. By contrast, students who have no solid knowledge of any language but rather familiarity with both the language of their parents and the language of the reception society face more difficulties at school. Second, intercultural education requires acknowledgement of the difference that exists within the immigrant school population. This has not been fully the case in Greece, not least because intercultural education was framed in relation to the needs of returning Greeks. Intercultural education initiatives have until recently ignored the diversity within the linguistic background of the foreign student population and the ensuing linguistic needs in how to learn Greek. Currently there are special requirements that need to be fulfilled for teachers to be transferred to an Intercultural School (including previous experience and training in teaching Greek as a foreign language as well as knowledge of one of the languages of the major immigrant groups, i.e. Albanian or Russian, see Ministry of Education, Decision of 17 November 2003) or to teach in the special Greek language support classes organized within the context of EPEAK (see http://web.auth.gr/eppas/doc/news/kritiriamoriodotisis.doc ). Unfortunately, there are neither requirements nor a special selection mechanism for teachers who ask to be transferred to ‘mainstream’ schools with large immigrant pupil percentages. Third, the intercultural dimension does not yet transcend all aspects of the Greek educational system, nor is it considered relevant by all actors of the educational system. As an example, it is relevant to point to the case of one Director from the prefecture level who was interviewed. He considered a discussion on intercultural education irrelevant to his area since there are no officially designated intercultural
schools in his district (I7). Even though he did recognize that many of the schools in his area of responsibility included up to 80 % of pupils of immigrant parents (hence significantly above even the official threshold that is required for a school to be designated intercultural), he considered that intercultural education was not pertinent to the schools in his jurisdiction. Fourth, individual initiative remains the most important factor and motor of intercultural education in Greece. The private initiative, preparedness to ‘go the extra mile’ outside the scope of their professional duties, investment of personal time and resources on the part of teachers and school principals was underlined by all parties (by the teachers, the immigrant associations and the students) as the key factor making a difference in the way and extent to which education incorporates an intercultural dimension/intercultural sensitivities. In effect, it was underlined on numerous occasions that the initiative of a teacher and of a school director to: request or insist for assistance from the Ministry for instance to employ bilingual teachers; to receive adequate teaching material; to collaborate closely with the social services to identify whether some immigrant pupils might have learning or other disabilities; to obtain the financial and human resources to set up reception and support classes; to provide a venue within which immigrant associations could informally organize mother-tongue classes for their children; etc, were what made a positive or negative difference (I1, I3, I4, I14 and informal discussions). As regards teachers and people involved in intercultural education (DG1, DG2, I5), it is necessary to underline that in the sample that we came into contact with during our fieldwork, all demonstrated a very committed effort to make the schools a venue in which immigrant children would not feel as a minority, or excluded. Emphasis is placed on anti-racist messages, equality and learning about each other’s country and culture of origin. ‘Friendship days’ where the traditions, history and culture of various students’ country of origin are celebrated are organized, while many classes include projects and presentations based on themes that refer to the history, geography, culture of the students’ countries of origin. At the same time, great pride was taken in showing the impressive progress accomplished on the part of immigrant children in their aptitude and speed to learn Greek and to become accustomed with Greek literature, poetry, culture, mythology. Fifth, the gap that may exist with regard to interculturalism as it is defined in the policy and how it is implemented in practice also has to do with the fact that information does not trickle up from the schools to the Ministry. Bureaucratic hurdles and lack of funds render the situation more challenging. In many cases, Ministry officials appeared to not be aware of challenges faced by teachers and schools regarding the overall integration of immigrant students in the classrooms. For instance, they did not seem to be aware of the difficulties frequently faced by teachers who may have one or two foreign students who speak no Greek in integrating these students into the curriculum and the classroom. In rural areas where there is no easily available support system, or no provisions for reception or tutorial classes or Greek language classes, and no bilingual educational material and textbooks to assist the teaching the difficulties become even more significant. In such instances, the teacher is faced with the following options: tutoring the student individually, either by dedicating his/her free time after or during school; attributing extra attention to the student during class hours at the expense of delaying the rest of the class; or leaving the student to his/her own devices at the risk of socially excluding the student further. At the same time, teachers and staff from the intercultural schools we came into contact with expressed a deep frustration with the long bureaucratic delays, the lack of
available resources (in terms of material and textbooks, bilingual teachers, additional staff to run the reception and support classes, etc.), and the frequent lack of interest in supporting their efforts. Finally, an additional finding that may be discerned from our interviews is that the European dimension in education is largely irrelevant. It appeared to not be an issue for education policy in general because it is considered as integrated within the Greek dimension. In short, the arguments presented can be summarized in that Greece is an EU Member State, Greece’s history and civilization is the cradle of European civilization, Greek and European values are fully compatible. There is limited awareness of EU directives that may affect Greek curricula or the Greek education system with the exception of the Directorate on European Affairs at the Ministry. The main subjects raised in regard to the EU dimension was that Greece was in full compliance with the EU priority of learning at least one foreign language and indeed the emphasis on one or more foreign language classes in schools was underlined; and the student and teacher exchange programmes that encouraged mobility across the EU. There was thus no perception that ‘Europe,’ its internal diversity or the set of values that it represents were posing challenges that required Greece to reassess its educational system. Rather, it was seen as inherent and as a wider framework of cooperation with other EU Member States to support the development of European citizens able to function to an international, increasingly competitive and connected environment. 3.5.3 The meanings and practices of inter-cultural education in Greece Greek terminology refers to ‘inter-cultural’ (διαπολιτισµική diapolitismiki) and not to ‘multi-cultural’ (πολυπολιτισµική polypolitismiki) education. In the Greek academic discourse, intercultural education and interculturalism (διαπολιτισµική εκπαίδευση, διαπολιτισµικότητα) are normative concepts. They prescribe a desired state of affairs and a prescriptive approach to the goals of education. By contrast, multiculturalism and multicultural societies (πολυπολιτισµικότητα, πολυπολιτισµική κοινωνία) are mainly seen as descriptive terms. They refer to a state of affairs, notably the coexistence of different cultures and ethnic or national groups within one society, where society is understood as a state. Multiculturalism is seen as a dominant feature of late modern societies and is not vested with a value connotation (Damanakis 1997; Markou 1996, Paleologou and Evagelou 2003; Skourtou et al. 2004). An emphasis is placed on intercultural education as an ideological perspective that combats any form of discrimination within the educational process where discrimination may refer to gender, race, religion, distinction between good and bad pupils and generally anything that creates closed categories within the educational practice (Androusou 2000). The intercultural approach is predicated on dialogue and actual engagement with other individuals and other cultures. In this context, the role of the school is twofold. It is both an arena of intercultural practice and an educational institution that prepares children to live in a multicultural society. The students of the intercultural school get to know one another’s culture and ways of thinking and exchange views and appreciate each other’s specificity. They also learn to live in a society based on mutual communication and understanding of the various groups and communities within it (Bereris 2001, Damanakis 2005). The objective is to support cultural enrichment, increased understanding and tolerance of the ‘other,’ reject racist
discrimination and exclusion, and thereby accept society’s multicultural composition (Skourtou et al. 2004; Bereris 2001, Damanakis 2005). Paleologou and Evagelou (2003: 69-70) note that we need to distinguish between culture and civilisation (in Greek both terms can be referred to with the word πολιτισµός –politismos). They define civilisation as a societal system of values while culture is seen as the codified system by which people make sense of the world and orient themselves within it. It is unclear often in the literature on education whether the terms intercultural and multicultural refer to civilizations or cultures. In reality this distinction is blurred in much of the literature as culture (κουλτούρα –koultoura ) is taken to mean a relatively stable set of values and mores (i.e. a concept that fits more with what Paleologou and Evagelou define as civilisation) (Bereris 2001; Skourtou et al. 200, for instance). Indeed in our view the main drawback with the intercultural perspective in education is that it tends to see cultures as closed units that interact. Thus, pupils and teachers are seen as carriers of a specific culture who learn to interact and be open to one another in the intercultural education setting. In other words, the normative aspect of the approach (interculturalism) is predicated on the ontological aspect (that multiculturalism means a multitude of cultures but not a pluralized society) neglecting the fluidity of social reality. Children and teachers need not identify with a specific culture and the content of a specific culture, for instance the Greek or British culture, may be a contested issue. This perspective overlooks the fact that immigrant minorities may demand a stake in the definition of the ‘national’ culture. They may demand the re-definition of the national culture in ways that incorporate their specificity and the diversity of the multicultural society (see also Modood 1997). This possibility appears to be overlooked in the intercultural education perspective. Govaris (2001: 77-78) notes that there are three distinct approaches to intercultural education. The first is based on the theory of cultural universalism and seeks to underline the common ground between cultures. The second approach emphasizes cultural relativism and underscores the differences between cultures. The third view is based on an ethics of justice and aims at providing for the conditions for equal social participation in a multicultural society. It is probably only the third variety of intercultural education that responds to the request for redefining the national self in ways that recognise its diversity. Some of the Greek academics working on intercultural education have had a chance to influence policy making and, according to some of our interviewees (I3, I14) they were the ones who promoted and partly drafted the policy provisions introduced in 1996. The law of 1996 defined intercultural education as an approach that ‘embraces all the student groups who are vulnerable to educational exclusion and the indigenous student population’ (www.ipode.gr). The definition of intercultural education presented thus by the Ministry of Education (and IPODE within it) is not assimilationist. It rather ‘opens the educational process across all school levels and disciplines in order to integrate difference and specificities as a source of knowledge and personal development’ (www.ipode.gr). The objectives of intercultural education have been defined as: knowledge, acceptance and respect of diversity; mutual understanding and dialogue between different civilizations; rejection of stereotypes and prejudice; equal and constructive co-existence within a multicultural society. In his recent work (2005), one of the main experts of intercultural education in Greece, Michalis Damanakis has argued that the Ministry of Education has undertaken a series of initiatives since 1996 to address the shortcomings of the educational system in the field of interculturalism, and notably to
shift from the notion of ‘deficit’ to ‘difference’ and from ‘foreigners’ education’ to ‘intercultural education.’ He has argued that the Ministry has legislated and financed educational programmes and has encouraged intercultural practices, but that there exists a resistance to these on the part of parents, teachers and educational administrators. This, he has concluded, suggests a paradoxical situation where the Ministry of Education is more forward thinking than society that remains more conservative (2005: 81-82). Our research suggests a more diversified situation within the Ministry and the educators’ community in general. Within the education policy community and within the Ministry itself and its different levels of policy implementation there are actors and units with very different understandings of intercultural education. We have identified three main ‘philosophies’ of intercultural education among our interviewees. First a philosophy of equality before the law: all children have a right and an obligation to attend compulsory education. This provision, which is included in the Greek Constitution, is implemented without regard to the parents’ legal or undocumented immigrant status. This view is dominant among the policy officials of the Ministry headquarters.
[the main objective is] to integrate them in the education system so that they also have the possibility of equal opportunity to access the education. (..) this is the main obective. To limit school abandonment. (I8)22 The needs of life and of society (..) are always varied. Which means that today as citizens, us too, of the EU we see things different. And the needs of education are also larger. Because here we have the human right to education, regardless of gender, nationality, besides the Constitution foresees that and gives the right to all children (..) that all people can take part in Hellenic education regardless of their country of origin, gender or religion. Very important. (..) the experience of a country and the understanding of the problems of one country gives us the opportunity and the possibility to understand what happens in the wider space, in Europe, and perhaps in the entire world, where there are people with the same needs. Education is a, as they all agree, a good, an irreplaceable good. (I8) Our education is anthropocentric. Its centre is the person, the human factor. (..) [It] has humanist values and it has never separated these children [the foreign children from other children]. Sometimes those [teachers] who are older see things differently. But understanding and tolerance exist in the field of education. Well if we are to look at exceptions... exceptions do not invalidate the rule! (I8)
In this view, intercultural education means that all children have access to the national education system which is assumed to be open to their cultural diversity and special needs because it is based on the principles of human rights, equality, the humanist tradition, liberty of consciousness and freedom of religion (I8, I9). However there is no understanding that such educational principles may need to be revised so as to accommodate, integrate and valorise the cultural and social capital of children of an immigrant background. ‘Hellenic education,’ as an echo of ‘hellenic culture’ which probably makes an implicit reference to the Greek classical culture, is thus seen as a universal framework that can embrace all children and their cultures. There is no
All excerpts are taken from our interviews and have been translated from Greek into English by the authors of the report.
understanding in this view that children may themselves be the bearers of a mixed cultural capital, that cultures (and not only life as I8 argues) are in evolution and are not static units and that this universal framework may need some re-adjustment to appraise and integrate non-EU cultural diversity. Moreover, the bottom line of this view is the principles of ‘understanding and tolerance’. In other words, cultural diversity needs to be understood and tolerated, not valued nor should it lead us to reconsider our own conceptions and educational principles. While this view is theoretically open to cultural and religious diversity (which I8 and I9 argue is clearly enshrined and guaranteed by the Greek Constitution) in reality it involves a static view of culture and a very limited notion of intercultural dialogue, only at the level of individuals and within a set framework and context dominated by the ‘host’ country and its culture. While several interviewees acknowledge the possibility of children not to attend religion classes (I3, I5, I8, I9) one interviewee (I1) strongly criticises the relevant legal provisions pointing to contradictory provisions in the law and the Constitution:
On one hand [the Constitution] says that there is freedom of religion in our country and on the other hand it says that the prevailing religion is the Christian Orthodox, which means that there is an area of contradictions here, within the legal system and in law 1566. This law that says that education should be based on the genuine elements of the Christian Orthodox tradition at the same time says that children should [learn] to respect all civilisations and the works of all peoples. Within this area of contradictions, any policy can move with great comfort, calling to one or other element. (I1)
This contradiction is also noted by Interviewee I4, who favours the secularization of schooling and the restriction of catechism to religious institutions. Interestingly I4 notes that this so-called freedom of education guaranteed by the Greek Constitution and Greek law in schools is ‘no big deal’ since it does not answer to any claim of children (or their families), who are of a non-Christian Orthodox religion, it only allows them to be exempted from the religion class. She also notes however that there has been no name-calling reported in Greek schools related to religious belief issues. This passive tolerance of diversity is to be attributed in her view to the ‘dignified stance of school teachers’. In our view, this attitude of the teachers finds its roots in a longer tradition of tolerance towards religious minority children in Greek schools such as Jehova witnesses who were otherwise stigmatized in society. Some of our interviewees (I11, I2, I3) also reported incidents of assimilation where school teachers actively encourage the conversion of children to the Christian Orthodox religion and become their godparents or where children are indirectly encouraged to change their first names into Greek names. One interviewee (I11) reports the christening initiatives as an instance of integration while two interviewees (I2, I3) note that encouraging children to adopt Greek names or become Christian Orthodox is clearly an assimilationist perspective. In line with I11’s view of ‘integration’, interviewees I8 and I9 note that intercultural education involves inviting foreigners – that in this context are clearly labelled as different and alien to the local culture – to “promote their civilisation”, an action in which “they may be supported by their parents. That is why we have days, let’s say days of Friendship that the school organises” (I8).
The second philosophy of intercultural education identified in our research is sustained mainly by education practitioners. We define education practitioners as those who are involved in the everyday reality of schools as teachers or as heads of districts, notably those who belong to the ground and the intermediate level of education policy implementation. Their views show more appreciation of intercultural dialogue but there is an implicit assimilation perspective subtly inherent to these views. Their view is that schools should accommodate diversity, be inviting and encouraging towards immigrant children who face important hardship both for being foreigners and for coming from generally a lower socio-economic background than the average Greek student. However, it is implicitly clear for them that if these immigrant families and their children chose to come to this country, they should adapt to the local reality and the national culture. Their culture and country of origin here becomes less relevant, particularly in the everyday reality. Within this limited view of intercultural education, there is on the one hand a high support of special measures to cater for the educational needs of foreign pupils not only in the officially designed intercultural schools but also in the mainstream schools that are de facto intercultural. On the other hand, intercultural education from this perspective does not involve an opening up of the national culture to cultural and religious diversity. Typically, the participation of foreign pupils in national commemorations is heralded as a sign of integration and of non-discrimination.
Question: the school, through its educational programme but also through other activities like national celebrations teaches some values, these values are…. Answer: The non-Greek mother tongue pupils are among the best in reciting their poems, dancing the Greek traditional dances etc. They participate!! (I6) I would say that the first thing that [a school does] is to try and confer values for live. For socialization, for integration in the societal whole, so that children learn to live independently, to stand on their own feet, and then to be able to understand the place in which they live, to love the country in which they live, to learn the way of thinking of the country in which they live, so that they can integrate more comfortably or if they wish [that they can] leave, but most importantly to love the country in which they live. To live the country and this takes place only through learning its history, its language, its mentality [only in this way] they will be able to achieve it. How else could they [live the country]? (I5)
The above views are expressed by educators that are actively involved in their daily work in intercultural schools (official or de facto ones). These are ground-level or intermediate level educators who organise extra-curricular activities, make all possible efforts to ensure that support and reception classes are adequately staffed, that school counsellors support actively mainstream schools with high percentages of immigrant pupils, that additional educational material is made available to students who need it. In other words, these are the forefront practitioners who support the effective implementation of intercultural education principles. Albeit their view of intercultural exchange, dialogue, recognition and acceptance of diversity is predicated on a mono-cultural understanding of Greek society. Greek society and culture are seen as static and cohesive units that host these foreign elements and the scope of the education system is to embrace, accept them but also gradually assimilate them into its culture, language and mores. There is little interest for the maintenance of the language and culture of origin or for pluralising the classroom through the effective
appreciation of different value systems and the recognition that the Greek value system and tradition is also gradually changing and becoming more plural. A third type of intercultural education understanding was also identified through our empirical research. We consider this approach as one that satisfies the basic features of the concept as this is defined in the relevant academic literature. This understanding is put forward by the specialised educators at the intermediate level of the Ministry and by the secondary education teachers’ association. It is worth noting that the specialised educators interviewed have not only a policy but also a research orientation in their training. Their views point to the ideal that characterises the intercultural approach and also an appreciation of what is happening actually in Greek schools.
We try to open up the school, for all. For native students too, these are our objectives. In conferences and workshops, the main statement from which we start is that intercultural education concerns native students too. Now the practice is much more difficult (..) while interaction may help the educational attainment of both foreign and native pupils if in a classroom you have pupils, in elementary or high school, who speak no Greek at all, naturally the emphasis for a time will be on language learning. But the objective should not be to convert them as much as possible into Greeks, from a linguistic and a cultural point of view. Of course I [the educator] can also take elements from these pupils. (I3)
The principles of intercultural education in this approach involve not only intercultural exchange and knowledge of other cultures but also a reconsideration of the ingroup culture through the interaction with culturally diverse pupils. The individual and the collective realities of cultural and religious diversity are also acknowledged in this view. As is the fact that not only does the host society culture and tradition change, but also that immigrant children are bearers of mixed cultural influences leading to a new synthesis that incorporates the diversity of society.
In our view, education is still based on the same principles and values. The way in which we shall implement these principles and values have changed. That is notions like equality, differentiation in learning, respect for the personality of the child take a different connotation with the cultural diversification of the school population. (..) because the fact that each child has a different cultural root makes us consider more the cultural diversity within out country, right? (..) the horizon has opened and made us more sensitive to the variety of differences and deviation. Many educators are not prepared for this role because [until recently] there was no course on intercultural or anti racist education, so to speak, in the main education training curricula. So that intensive seminars were necessary to cover some gaps and this is where we played a role to use programmes to train educations and sensitise them (I1) It is difficult to say [whether immigrant students have special needs]. (…) when we speak of diversified teaching and learning we have to take into account the specificity of the child (..) which is partly determined by his cultural roots but it would be wrong to speak of collective pedagogy that targets a group because within a group, children differ. It is not enough that they have a common cultural root or a common language. Their individual differences sometimes bring them in contrast to their cultural root. (I1) At the policy level it is obvious that the cultural specificities of the child are not respected and specially his educational capital, that he brings from his country is not valorised in the school context. Nor is his language or his attitudes… it is left to the
sensitive education to promote and valorise in the classroom this element [of plurality] rather than leaving the mono cultural curriculum to walk calmly the road of tradition, of Greek tradition. (..) it is necessary to note that the children of migrants do not bring with them exclusively the experience from their parents’ country. Most children (..) have a mixed cultural background which does not fit either with their parents’ background or with that of the receiving country. This specificity should be taken into account by the education system. (..) besides as long as nationalist views remain dominant and are even reinforced, the position of immigrant children will become more difficult (I1).
This third philosophy of intercultural education among the Greek policy practitioners is the only one that fully conforms with the scholarly definitions of intercultural education and which reconciles interculturalism with multiculturalism in the Greek education policy and reality. Although educators who spoke in favour of this view did not mention the term multiculturalism, it is clear that their view of intercultural education involves the pluralisation of the national identity and recognises the dynamic character of culture. It thus avoids reifying cultures as containers and perceiving intercultural dialogue as the interaction of stable and cohesive units which mutually accept and appreciate one another but which remain closed to mutual influences 3.6 Concluding remarks and policy recommendations To conclude, migration and the need to accommodate and respond to the challenges arising from the current diversity within Greek society is fully acknowledged by the Greek authorities. Particularly in the past decade, the institutional and legislative system has incorporated an intercultural dimension in Greek education. However, until recently the provisions mainly consisted of measures relevant for the immigrant school population only, and these measures were part of an implicit assimilationist approach. In more recent years, there has been a persistent pressure on the part of the academic community and educators involved in intercultural education to engage in a wider debate on the subject of intercultural education and to redefine the objectives, methods and approaches of educational policy. From this perspective, the intercultural dimension ought to transcend all aspects, levels and disciplines of the educational system since it is equally relevant for the immigrant and the majority student populations. Teachers and staff in the field of education underlined that existing practices and provisions for intercultural education are inadequate. Their underlying orientation towards assimilation is being questioned by educators concerned with the longer term needs to integrate foreign and Greek pupils in a multicultural society and a wider multicultural environment. Although there was no mention of overt cases of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in schools, the need to promote initiatives that will facilitate communication between different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups, and tap into the cultural capital of foreign students were highlighted as issues requiring the attention of policy makers. In this context, mother tongue courses and classes on history and culture of country of origin are valuable assets in intercultural education. Continued and consistent training and support to educators and teachers in the field of multicultural education is required. As one of our middle rank officials of the Ministry interviewed (I6) noted, there is a need for additional screening of teachers 50
who offer to serve in schools with a high percentage of non Greek mother tongue pupils with a view to ensuring that people with expertise on the subject and/or motivated to tackle the challenge of cultural diversity would be appointed. Another measure proposed by this interviewee that we endorse is a special provision that schools with a high percentage of non-Greek mother tongue pupils are enabled to have smaller classes (about half the size of the standard class size, i.e. 15 instead of 30 students per class). The smaller class-size would facilitate learning as well as class cohesion while making these schools attractive to Greek mother tongue pupils and their parents, thus also preventing the ghettoisation of some neighbourhood schools in central Athens. It is necessary to underline that intercultural education is a cross cutting dimension in education that should not be confined to ‘special’ schools. Rather, it is a dimension that ought to transcend the Greek education system from pre-school to secondary education embracing all schools, curricula, school programming, disciplines and materials. Moreover, its objective ought not only be to integrate foreign pupils, but equally to expose majority students to other cultures and thereby substantially engage in an intercultural dialogue and substantive exchange and understanding of diversity and own identity. In this context, we propose a substantial reform of law 2413/1996 with a view to expand and complement the scope and means of intercultural education in Greece. In particular we propose that • The meaning and scope of the intercultural dimension in education needs to be clearly stated in a new law. • We put forward the following definition of intercultural education: intercultural education involves not only intercultural exchange and knowledge of other cultures but also a reconsideration of the ingroup culture through the integration of culturally diverse pupils into a cohesive societal whole. • The new law should also state clearly the measures that need to be taken to implement the intercultural dimension in education. • In our view such measures include: the continuation of reception and support classes for non Greek mother tongue pupils; the promotion of the teaching of the language and culture of the main countries of origin in optional courses during afternoon hours for all students; further revisions in school curricula and textbooks with a view to acknowledging and celebrating the plural character of Greek society and culture in the 21st century; • Curricula and textbooks, especially of history, civic education and geography, should also be checked with a view to eliminating attitudes and interpretations of events that present hierarchies of civilizations or that include – implicitly or explicitly – racist/discriminatory content. Finally, contrary to what has been common practice so far, intercultural education should be vested with appropriate resources rather than being left to the initiative and conscience (φιλότιµο - filotimo) of teachers and school principals.
Annex I to Chapter 3: List of interviews
No. I1 I2 I3 I4 Function President of the Centre for Documentation and Study (KETEME) Research Associate and Secondary School Teacher Director of Research Head of KEDA (Centre for Intercultural Education), and former coordinator of an EPEAK programme Headmistress Head of XX Office of Secondary Education Head of XX Office of Secondary Education Director of Primary Education department Director of Secondary Education Head of Secondary Education Director of department Professor EU Affairs Organisation Association of Secondary Education Teachers (OLME) Institute for the Greek Diaspora Education and Intercultural Studies (IPODE) IPODE University of Athens Gender M F F F Date of interview 29 May 2007 24 May 2007 24 May 2007 25 May 2007 18 June 2007 6 June 2007 6 June 2007, not taped 5 June 2007 5 June 2007 5 June 2007 5 June 2007 27 June 2007 (phone interview) 9 May 2007 (not taped) 21 September 2007 (not taped)
I5 I6 I7 I8 I9 I10 I11 I12
Intercultural Gymnasium of Athens First Directorate, Athens Region, Ministry of Education First Directorate, Athens Region, Ministry of Education Ministry of Education Ministry of Education Ministry of Education Ministry of Education University of Thessaloniki, EPEAK Programme Hellenic Forum of Migrants Primary Education, Institute, Pedagogical
F M M F M F F F
President Expert Counselor
Annex II to Chapter 3: Discussion group: Meeting with teachers, headmasters, researchers and students on intercultural education in Greece
Venue: First Intercultural Gymnasium of Athens, 20 June 2007. Morning session: DG1 Chairperson: S. V. Georgatsou, director of the Multicultural Education Gymnasium of Athens The role of the educator in the multicultural school, Z. Papanaoum, Professor, Aristotle University of Thessalonike. The profile of the Multicultural High-School of Acharnes, Ch. Karanikos director of the Multicultural Education Gymnasium of Acharnes. Reception classes and integration of foreign students: The experience of our School, M. Veltsista, director of the Multicultural Education Gymnasium of Elliniko
The efforts for the integration of foreign students in the 45th High-School of Athens, D. Spagopoulou director of the 45th Gymnasium of Athens. Cultural diversity and Greek education policy, R. Gropas Researcher, ELIAMEP Multicultural Integration, G. Tsimouris, Assistant Professor, Panteion University The instruction of Greek language in the Arsakeio College of Tirana, Ch. Makridou, substitute Coordinator-Consultant of primary education of the Filekpaideutiki Etaireia. European Culture, A. Mauroeidi, literature teacher of the 1st Tositsio Lyceum of the Filekpaideutiki Etaireia, in Ekali The experiences drawn from the effort of training Educators of all sectors in Multicultural Education. A perspective for the formation of the school of Tomorrow, E. Dafni, Physics teacher
Afternoon session: DG2 The Multicultural liveliness in action. Programs and Participating Activities.
Coordinator: D. Samiou, literature teacher, Multicultural Education Gymnasium of Athens. Reception classes: Instruction of the Greek language, description of the lesson, remarks, B. Dimopoulou, literature teacher History and information technology, E. Mpourouni, M Tentzeraki School Events, D. Samiou, E. Kontogoula Short presentation of the programs of the Multicultural Education Gymnasium of Athens. Informal forms of teaching and evaluation of multicultural activities. The sensitization of educators on the promotion of equality of the two sexes, A. Gkouti, D. Samiou Sea and life, E. Zapkadi, M. Drimaliti, E. Stamatiadou, M. Tentzeraki Art and Natural Sciences, P. Bokou, G. Aldouchova, M. Vasilakou The tales of the world, P. Bokou, G. Aldouchova, M. Vasilakou, E. Kontogoula I learn how to get information by exploring the profession I am interested in, Ch. Aristovoulidou, M. Drimaliti Program of electronic twinning (e-twinning), E. Stamatiadou, E. Zarkadi, M. Drimaliti, M. Tentzeraki Discussion: Exchange of knowledge and experience through the everyday educational activity (teaching, programs) in the multicultural school. Open discussion with the participation of teachers-students and scientists with a view to recording experiences.
Annex III to Chapter 3: Overview of the Greek Education system
Source: Dimitrakopoulos 2004: 65
CHAPTER 4 Discrimination in the Workplace and the Challenge of Migration.
4.1 Introduction 2000 has become a reference year for anti-discrimination policies in the European Union in the fields of employment, training, social protection, health care, education and access to goods and services, including housing. Two European directives, the Racial Equality directive (2000/43/EC of 29/06/2000) and the Employment Equality directive (2000/78/EC of 27/11/2000), were adopted on the basis of Art. 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam thereby setting in place a framework for the development of specific and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and policies across all EU Member States. These directives define the principles that offer every individual in the EU a common, minimum level of legal protection against discrimination. They complement wide-ranging legislation that has been adopted to fight discrimination based on sex, on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, disability, age and sexual orientation, particularly in the workplace over the past three decades. The EU Member states had to transpose these directives into national law by 2003/2004.23 This was mostly done through civil and labour law, and in a few exceptions also through criminal law (Cormack and Bell, 2005). Although there remain some gaps and a considerable degree of variation in the transposition of the directives regarding some sectors (private and public), or who is held liable for discrimination, the most important issue across the EU is the application of national anti-discrimination legislation and the active implementation and enforcement of equality rights in practice (ibid: 9). At the end of 2004 Greece had still not transposed these directives into national legislation. After being placed in infringement proceedings with the European Court of Justice, Greece complied. In 2008 it was one of the seventeen EU Member States that had fully transposed the two Directives into national legislation. In a single act, Law 3304 (published in the Government Gazette A’16/27.01.2005), the two directives were more or less directly reproduced in Greek legislation. It is important to underline here that prior to this law there had been no anti-discrimination legislation in force in Greece (Ktistakis, 2007: 5). This chapter analyses the transposition and implementation of the two EU Anti-Discrimination Directives on Racial and Employment Equality (2000/43 and 2000/78) in Greece. In particular, the chapter’s focus is on anti-discrimination policies in Greece and the extent and ways in which these are relevant for immigrants in the Greek labour market. Greece continues to be considered a relatively ‘new’ destination country for immigrants even though it has been a reception country for almost two decades and approximately 10% of its population is composed of third country nationals (Gropas
The 15 ‘older’ EU Member States had to transpose the Racial Equality Directive into national law by the 19th of July 2003 and the ‘newer’ ones by 1st May 2004, while the Employment Equality Directive had to be transposed by 2nd December 2003 in the former and 1st of May in the latter group of Member States.
and Triandafyllidou 2007). Integration policies were developed rather recently due to the country’s general background of reactive and delayed responses in the field of migration policy. In fact, migrants have only relatively recently been acknowledged as a more permanent reality in Greek society and as an integral part of the Greek labour market. Moreover, the application of non-discriminatory principles as regards EU citizens and third country nationals in the workplace is only gradually being realized as a fundamental obligation and responsibility, and thus is only slowly becoming a more wide-spread, conscious practice. To a large extent, attitudes in the public administration, among civil servants, and wider public opinion and employers, have not yet ‘caught up’ with the formal situation already in place. Immigrants make up 9.5-13% of Greece’s labour force and have so far typically occupied jobs in the labour intensive sectors of the economy: construction, agriculture, tourism, domestic and home care (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof 2008). Given the high proportion of undocumented or irregular migrants in Greece and the large portion of the country’s informal economy, the most widespread challenges faced by migrants in the workplace have to do with job insecurity and ‘exploitation’ by their employers. In this context, it is useful to consider the structural drivers of discrimination in the Greek workplace. A number of questions are thus raised. First, if and how is exploitation in the workplace (caused by standard labour market offer and demand dynamics) different from (opportunistic) discrimination? To what extent can migrants with irregular status (and therefore no legal status in the ‘host’ economy) be protected by anti-discrimination policies? Since some population groups may be at a disadvantage from the onset (in terms of skills, qualifications, access to social capital and networks, etc), to what extent should we distinguish between disadvantage and discrimination given that these may feed into one another? Finally, where, if at all, do anti-discrimination and migration policies meet? And, how relevant are EU policies in this context? This chapter concentrates on issues pertaining to discrimination in the workplace in the case of Greece. In studying discrimination, it is first necessary to present its various dimensions and definitions and then to clarify what kind of discrimination we are referring to both within and outside the workplace. This involves identifying who is discriminated against, as well as when and in what circumstances. The following section, therefore, presents some dimensions of discrimination in the employment field. It then goes on to present public perceptions of discrimination in Greece and offers an overview of attitudes towards equality and inequality, as well as perceptions of what constitutes discrimination and remedies against it. It also presents the findings of a very small number of recent studies and reports on the kind of discrimination immigrant workers tend to face in Greece at present. Section three introduces the European directives on racial and employment equality and discusses how these EC directives have been transposed in Greek legislation. In spite of a comprehensive legal and institutional framework, forms of discrimination continue to exist, while enforcement mechanisms are mostly either insufficient or inefficient. Lastly, section five presents some conclusions and proposes a set of direct and indirect recommendations aimed at targeting discrimination in the workplace.
4.1.2 Research methods and methodology The conceptual background to this chapter is based on a literature review of the antidiscrimination, equality and diversity management fields. The desk-based research that was conducted for this chapter involved collecting and analyzing reports and studies on anti-discrimination and equality (for instance the country report on Greece by the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field), and the relevant Greek laws which transposed the EU directives into national legislation and the opinions of the relevant public authorities and social partners. In addition, statistics and data on employment, wages and social security contributions were obtained from the National Social Security Foundation (‘Ιδρυµα Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων – ΙΚΑ). The data collected was complemented by a series of interviews. Two exploratory interviews were conducted in late 2007 with the Greek Ombudsman and a Labour Inspection office in the northern part of Athens with a view to clarifying the focus of the study and to identifying the relevant policy and non governmental actors to be interviewed later. In the period between January and April 2008, nine more interviews were conducted by the authors with state institutions, independent authorities and legal experts. In addition we conducted informal conversations with trade union representatives and NGOs. A list of all stakeholders interviewed is provided in the annex to this chapter. An interview guide (see below) was used to structure the course of the interview but the questions were open-ended and tailored to the specific field of expertise of each interviewee. Table 4. Interview Guide
Part 1: Regarding the law that transposes the RED directives into the national legislation: Does the law cover all the fields? Is the definition of discrimination functional? Are there any additional clauses necessary for the full transposition of the directives? Is there a problem with the transposition of the directives into national law? Is there any problem with the implementation of the law? Part 2: Regarding the work of the independent authorities entrusted with the implementation of the law (and the directives) The three bodies (Ombudsman, Labour Inspection Offices, Equal Treatment Authority) responsible for the implementation of anti-discrimination policy in Greece: What is their exact area of responsibility? How do they accomplish their functions? What do they exactly do? What kind of initiatives or activities do they take up? What are their objectives? What are the main problems they face? How is it that none of the three bodies has been particularly active in the anti-discrimination field? Is it a question of human resources? Of financial resources? Or of overlap of responsibility or overlap of tasks? Are these bodies truly independent in fulfilling their functions? How important is it for the government to implement the anti-discrimination provisions in the labour market? Part 3: Regarding civil society and socio-economic actors: What is the role of the Social and Economic Committee in the fight against discrimination in the workplace? Why is the number of cases brought to court very small? And only in some areas (age, disability?)
Is there mobilization of civil society on this matter? If not, why not? What is the role that trade unions play What is the role that associations of employers play?
4.2 Discrimination and inequality 4.2.1 The challenge of discrimination in the workplace: an overview Discrimination in the workplace is rather commonplace across the European Union. Individuals belonging to ethnic and minority groups in particular tend to be at a disadvantage even in countries that have had institutionalised measures promoting equality and anti-discrimination for a long period of time. This is relevant for native or historical minority groups, just as much as it is for immigrants. In this chapter, we limit our research however to the latter group, concentrating on the situation of migrants in Greece, including those who may have acquired Greek citizenship.24 We explore the relationship between discrimination in the workplace and migration given that migratory inflows have led to significant demographic changes within Europe since the end of World War II. Immigration trends have intensified in the past two decades and today, almost all EU Member States have large, and growing, immigrant populations. In response to the increasing demographic diversity, policies and initiatives have been developed by state, non-state and private actors to address some of the challenges posed by migration-related diversity in the labour markets. This includes improving and facilitating recruitment, professional development, career advancement, training, inclusion and participation, compensation and retention of individuals of diverse backgrounds in the employment market. Equality legislation, anti-discrimination legal structures and diversity management business practices have thus gradually been put in place across Europe (Wrench 2007). However, the existence of a notable employment gap and of indirect discriminatory practices even within the more open economies of the EU has significant implications for European societies (Heath and Cheung 2007). Addressing discrimination issues in the workplace constitutes an important challenge for European governments and societies for a number of reasons. It is relevant for tackling poverty and social exclusion and promoting societal cohesion. It is equally necessary for moral reasons in a Union founded on democratic principles and principles of equality, rule of law, and the promotion of fundamental human rights for all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or creed. It is also a way to tap into the productive talent of significant (and growing) portions of the labour force during a time of increased and increasing international competition. There exists extensive legislation in the European Union protecting against all forms of discrimination and inequality in employment. This includes promotion, working conditions, pay and dismissal, access to vocational training, membership and involvement in professional, workers’ and employers’ associations, social security, healthcare, education, access to goods and services and housing. European directives, national legislative frameworks, a wide range of public monitoring institutions,
Issues concerning discrimination of ethnic and religious minorities and the Roma in Greece, as well as cases concerning people with disabilities, gender and age discrimination or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are outside the scope of this research.
human rights organizations and extensive information campaigns25 aimed at raising awareness of the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination have contributed to furthering the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of EU citizens and residents of the EU Member States. This chapter is based on the premise that EU anti-discrimination and equality policies are relevant for immigration related challenges because of their spill-over effects. The European directives on racial and employment equality protect all individuals from direct and indirect forms of discrimination. In this context, they fall within the wider EU objectives of furthering respect for human rights, and further consolidating democratic and tolerant societies. Thus, these directives protect third country nationals residing in EU Member States from racial and ethnic discrimination even though they do not affect provisions regarding their entry and residence and their access to employment. Even though their outreach into immigration policies is restricted, they merit close attention because of their relevance in the following: - combating various forms of inequalities; - providing the platform for a wider and more comprehensive legislative and institutional framework; - and, placing the issue of discrimination higher on the public agenda. All these are eventually relevant for greater social cohesion and solidarity within the EU Member States that have large and growing segments of their population of immigrant origin. 4.2.2 Defining discrimination Discrimination involves exclusion, distinction, restriction or preference. Discrimination may be expressed directly and/ or indirectly on the basis of race, colour, gender, descent or national or ethnic origin, religion, age as well as physical condition, sexual orientation or other socio-cultural factors. Its purpose and its implications are that it prejudices or even cancels out equal access to and enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of public life. In the field of employment discrimination, John Wrench (2007) has proposed a comprehensive classification outlined below that is particularly useful for our research. Wrench defines the following (op.cit, 116-7): - Direct or intentional discrimination, which encompasses racist, statistical and societal discrimination; - Structural discrimination, which includes indirect, past-in-present and side-effect discrimination; - And three additional types of discrimination that are mainly experienced by immigrant and ethnic minority workers in Europe, namely: opportunistic, legal and institutional discrimination.
The main two directives that are also examined here are the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC and the Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC. However, as early as 1997 the European Commission has published a number of action plans and annual programmes with the aim of combatting xenophobia, racism and discrimination. The European Centre for Monitoring Racism and Xenophobia was also established in 1997. The EUMC was more recently (2007) converted into the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) which has an extended mandate and more resources than its predecessor institution.
Racist discrimination in the workplace refers to notions of superiority and inferiority and may be expressed through refusal to recruit an individual on the basis of his or her natural traits, or may be expressed through verbal or physical harassment. Some scholars have argued the need to distinguish between the racist dimension and ethnic discrimination (Heckmann 2001) which tends to be founded on prejudices and stereotypes of cultural difference but in most cases, there is a mixture of both (Wrench 2007: 117). Not all forms of racist or ethnic discrimination are intentional. In fact, the most common instances of discrimination involve insensitive or inappropriate handling of cultural differences, or practices that may be perceived to be culturally neutral and that may in fact alienate or frustrate employees from specific ethnic or cultural groups, thereby marginalizing them or hindering their development and participation in the workplace. Statistical discrimination stems from perceptions that a certain group has characteristics that may have negative consequences for the organization or firm. In other words, individuals belonging to a certain group may be considered to be less productive or less suitable for a specific job on the basis of group characteristics and not on their individual merits. This kind of discrimination is motivated by an economic rationale on the part of the employer/ recruiter and is thus distinguished from the previous kinds. Closely related to this is societal discrimination which involves cases where an employer him/herself may be free of preconceived stereotypes or prejudices but is aware that others may have negative attitudes towards members of a particular group. In this case, the employer may avoid promoting or recruiting employees belonging to certain groups in specific positions where they may have contact with customers or clients or other colleagues who could be reluctant to deal with them (ibid, 118). Indirect discrimination is defined by Wrench as apparently ‘neutral’ recruitment practices or work policies that in practice discriminate against individuals belonging to certain groups. This may range from apparently objective criteria such as minimum height restrictions, to the rule of ‘last in, first out’ when redundancies are being made possibly disproportionately penalizing immigrants who have recently entered the specific workforce, to dress codes, canteen menus or holiday rules that do not take into account the multi-cultural dimensions of the workforce (ibid, 119). In the case of past-in-present discrimination, certain minority groups have traditionally been restricted to specific, and generally inferior, jobs and this structural discrimination continues in a de facto manner to the next generations. The third kind of structural discrimination involves discrimination in one social sphere that generates inequality in another even though there is no discrimination in the latter one. The typical example of side-effect discrimination is discrimination in housing or education that has direct implications for inequality in employment (ibid, 119). Wrench has also identified three additional kinds of discrimination that are mainly relevant for immigrants (Wrench 2007: 120-1). Opportunist discrimination involves differential treatment (or even exploitation) of a particular group – for instance through inferior working conditions, lower pay, non-payment of social security contributions or overtime, etc – because this group is in a weaker position both in society and in the labour market. Immigrants, and especially migrants who have an irregular or undocumented status, are particularly vulnerable to this kind of discrimination. Legal discrimination involves the restriction of access of third country nationals to certain jobs (mainly in the public sector), or the use of restrictive work and residence permits which restrict immigrants’ mobility in the workforce. Such laws and administrative practices are unquestionably legitimate regarding access of
third-country nationals to specific positions so long as they do not differentiate on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. Finally, institutional discrimination refers to the wider, more discreet structural conditions that may lead to inequality and exclusion. These conditions include rules, norms, routines, practices, attitudes and behaviours that constitute intentional or more frequently unintentional obstacles to ethnic or religious groups in enjoying the same rights as the majority of the population. This categorization is useful to identify and better understand the different kinds of discrimination that may be experienced by immigrants or citizens of immigrant origin in the EU. Some of these are already relevant for countries like Greece that are relatively new immigration countries; others may become more relevant as anti-discrimination issues, and the need to manage immigration-related diversity rise on the agenda. We propose that statistical and societal discrimination, opportunist discrimination, legal and institutional discrimination are the most relevant and pertinent kinds of discrimination for the labour force in Greece at present.26 The next sections discuss how discrimination and inequality are perceived by European public opinion. More detailed reference is made to Greek public opinion, and the picture is complemented by the perceptions of immigrants residing in Greece on discrimination and inequality. 4.2.3 Perceptions of discrimination and inequality in Greece The Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission has commissioned several survey studies to investigate the attitudes of EU citizens on the matter of discrimination. Thus, special issues of the Eurobarometre were published in 1997 (EB47.1 on Attitudes towards Racism and Xenophobia), in 2003 (EB 57, on Attitudes towards Discrimination), in 2007 (EB 65.4 on Attitudes towards Discrimination) and most recently in July 2008, EB 69.1 again on perceptions, experiences and attitudes towards discrimination.27 This series of studies shows both the continuing interest of European institutions to the issue but also the importance that is accorded to it for the improvement of the quality of life and working conditions of all residents of the EU. In this section we shall briefly discuss some of the results of the two most recent Eurobarometre surveys on discrimination, highlighting the results of the Greek sample on perceptions towards discrimination and inequality against the background of the EU average. Our aim here is to put the Greek results into their European context and of course to interpret them in the sections that follow later against the specific immigration experience and policy of Greece. Three quarters (76%) (EB 69.1: p. 105) of the Greek respondents consider discrimination on the basis of ethnic background to be widespread. This is remarkably more than the EU average of 62% (ibid.). There seems, however, to be a slight positive trend on this matter (unclear though whether it relates to direct experiences or to perceptions about the phenomenon), with 57% considering that this is less the case than 5 years ago, against 44 % of the EU average. In the EB survey of 2007 (EB 65.4: p. 36 and p. 40) 75% of the respondents considered that the police in Greece stops and
Past-in-present discrimination, side effect, indirect and ethnic discrimination is potentially more relevant for individuals belonging to ethnic and religious minority groups in Greece. This, however, falls outside the scope of EMILIE´s research focus and is therefore not elaborated on in this paper. 27 EB 69.1, see: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_296_en.pdf
questions people of different ethnic origin more frequently than the rest of the population – again here the percentage is markedly higher than the EU average of 55% (EB65.4, p. 37). These results indicate that Greek public opinion perceives ethnic discrimination to be a tangible reality in Greek society. As regards discrimination on the basis of religion, 48% consider it to be widespread, this being quite close to the EU average of 42% (EB69.1, p.109). In addition in the EB survey of 2007, 32% of the respondents considered that being part of a religion that is different to the country’s main religion tends to work as a disadvantage in Greece (EB65.4). In fact, there is a strong majority (72%) that considers discrimination on the basis of religion to be less common than five years earlier against only 42% of EU average on this question (EB69.1, p. 115). These results suggest that religious discrimination is also a tangible reality in Greece. Although the situation seems to be improving, again it is unclear whether this positive trend refers to experiences of discrimination becoming more rare or to a perception that other people suffer religious discrimination less often than they used to. This positive trend is likely to be related to the low visibility of religious minorities among the immigrant population of Greece and the absence of any radical movements among them (Triandafyllidou and Maroukis 2008). On matters of equality in the workplace in Greece, the EB survey of 2007 showed that a slight majority considers that belonging to a religion different from the main religion in the country (55% vs. 62% of the EU average) or being a foreigner (61%, nearly as much as the EU 25 average of 58%), or not being white (68% vs 59% in EU25 average), may work as a disadvantage in terms of equal access to a job, promotion and training in the event of equivalent qualifications and diplomas between two candidates (EB65.4, pp. 134-43). Religion is considered much less important in putting people at a disadvantage with regard to employment and training opportunities as only 32% considered this to be the case in Greece, compared to 39% on EU25 average (EB65.4, pp. 134-43). It remains unclear how these findings relate to direct experiences or perceptions of racial, ethnic, or religious diversity. Greek respondents are particularly sensitive both to populations that they are in frequent contact with (e.g. foreigners, given that nearly one tenth of the country’s residence today are of a different nationality) and to populations that they have rather rare contacts with (e.g. non white people who are numerically a small minority among immigrants in Greece). At the same time, they seem to be indifferent to populations with which they have limited interaction, such as people of minority religions, as most of the immigrants living in Greece are Christians or non practicing Muslims. In short, the results of the survey suggest a complex influence of both situational and experience factors with preexisting stereotypes and prejudice. Knowledge of one’s rights is fundamental in terms of being able to identify discriminatory practices when these occur and seeking appropriate remedies or responses to discrimination. Levels of awareness of the existence of antidiscrimination legislation are disappointingly low across the EU with the exception of legislation regarding disabilities. An EU average of 39% and 42% of respondents were not aware in 2007 that their country had a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin and religious beliefs respectively when hiring an employee (vs 36% and 35% who were aware of this respectively) (EB65.4, p.32). In the case of Greece, the situation is even more disappointing: one of two respondents (54%) claimed that s/he is not aware of her/his rights in the event s/he is the victim of discrimination.
Moreover, in response to the question of who they would turn to in the event of discrimination in the workplace, only 19% declared they would turn to a national body for equal treatment to seek advice and remedy. This percentage is even lower than the already dwindling EU25 average of 25%, indicating lack of information and low levels of trust in national institutions (EB65.4, p. 33). Even less respondents were aware of the procedures available to file a formal complaint in the event of discrimination since only 25% would first turn to the national body for equal treatment (EB65.4, p. 32). Just as relevant is that 56% of the Greek respondents in the 2007 survey considered that not enough effort is being made in Greece (vs. 51% of EU average) to fight all forms of discrimination (EB65.4, p. 23 and 20). This finding, however, needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as ignorance of the law prohibiting discrimination was widespread: two thirds of the respondents were not aware that there is such a law in Greece prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of ethnic origin (64%) and religion (68%) when hiring new employees. It is insightful here to complement the above with the perceptions of thirdcountry nationals residing in Greece. The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) coordinated a pilot study on migrants’ experiences of racism and xenophobia in twelve EU Member States in 2006. The study that was conducted in Greece focused on the largest immigrant groups in the country: Albanians, Romanians, nationals from the former USSR and nationals from various Arab countries. Some of the most relevant findings of this study are summarized below: More than half of the respondents across all nationalities reported having experienced discrimination in the context of commercial transactions (i.e. in terms of having been denied housing, or credit), and around 46% experienced discrimination in the workplace. More specifically, 52% reported that a particular job had been denied to them because of their ethnic background, 34% felt that they had not been promoted for this same reason, and 56% reported having been the victim of harassment in their workplace. Twenty-six percent of the respondents experienced discriminatory practices in their contact with state institutions, this mainly being the case for employment agencies, social insurance offices, as well as health and social security services. Finally, 21% reported that they had experience some form of discrimination in the public arena and their private life (i.e. in their neighbourhood, on the street and when using public transportation, etc) (see EUMC, 2006: 40-43). The above survey findings suggest that on one hand Greek public opinion is highly aware of ethnic and religious discrimination, believed to be rather widespread. This is complemented by the testimonies of immigrants themselves. Nonetheless, Greek citizens are much less aware of the remedies that they have recourse too and many ignore even the basic fact that discrimination and in particular ethnic and religious discrimination in employment is prohibited by law. In the following sections we dig further into this reality to understand how the EU anti-discrimination directives have been transposed into national legislation and what problems or issues have arisen in the course of their implementation that could justify both the ignorance and the inertia of the affected populations. 4.3 Immigrants and discrimination in the Greek labour market 4.3.1. Immigrant insertion in the Greek labour market
Third country nationals account for 9.5-13% of the employed population in Greece.28 The fact, however, that a significant percentage of immigrants in Greece have been, and continue to live and work in the country with an irregular or at least unstable legal status makes it difficult to present a complete and accurate picture of the Greek labour market and of the role of the migrant workforce. This is further complicated by the structure of the Greek labour market and the characteristics of the Greek economy. In effect, the country has a large informal sector and an economy built mainly on small and medium sized companies, frequently family owned and, where social networks are important for recruitment and doing business. Greece’s employment structure has traditionally been very different to the rest of the EU Member States, with exceptionally high percentages of ‘employers and self-employed’ and ‘family workers’ (and comparatively lower percentages of waged and salaried employment) (see Cavounidis 2006 for more). In the past couple of decades, there has been a shift in this structure because of the decreasing importance of the agricultural sector and also because of the expansion of the migrant labour force in the category of ‘salaried employment.’ Migrant workers have so far mainly taken on what was previously performed by family labour – i.e. either in family enterprises or with respect to domestic care and care for dependents. Moreover, the migrant workforce has been prepared to work both for lower wages and/or ‘illegally.’ Two reasons have largely contributed to this. First, their irregular status within the country; and second, the widespread practice of ‘undeclared’ employment, (i.e. employment in part, or in total concealed from the relevant state authorities) particularly in the agricultural, construction and home care sectors of the economy. Table 5. Employed Population in Greece by nationality and professional status (2001)
Employers Employees Nationals 12.8% 68.7% Non-Nationals EU citizens 13.3% 68.7% Non-Nationals non-EU 2.4% 89.8% citizens Source : Table from Cavounidis (2006: 646) based on statistics from NSSG (2001) Other Employed Employed, Family aides) 24.4% 18% 7.8% (Self
In spite of the consecutive regularization programmes, a significant portion of the immigrant population in Greece falls in and out of legality because of bureaucratic hurdles in the process of renewing their permits, while others were unable to participate in any of the previous regularisation schemes and hence are trapped into irregular status. Due to lack of reliable estimates on irregular workers in Greece, the data presented in this section concerns legal migrant workers registered with the National Social Security Foundation (IKA) which covers dependent employees ranging from manual workers or cleaners to all types of business clerks and also high skilled jobs in the private sector. According to data provided by IKA (March 2007), 13.14% of the total employees registered are third country nationals. Of these, 53.25% are Albanian nationals. Among the foreign male registered social security contributors, 58.69% are
As indicated in Cavounidis (2006), according to the 2001 census foreigners account for 9.5% of the labour force and based on OECD data (2002) immigrants’ share of the labour force is estimated at approximately 13%.
Albanian, 7.96% are Pakistani, 5.03% are Romanian, and Russians make up 4.80%. Among the foreign female social security contributors, 38.93% are Albanian, 16.17% are Russian and 11.54% are Bulgarian. Approximately half of the Albanian workers are employed in the construction sector, 16% in the manufacturing sector, 13% in wholesale and retail trade and around 9% in the tourist and catering sector. In addition, over 68% are registered as unskilled workers. The two tables below provide additional details regarding the breakdown per nationality in terms of sector of the economy in which they are employed and professional activity. The overwhelming majority of the foreign workers legally employed and paying into the IKA social security system are employed in the unskilled and labour intensive sectors of the economy. Table 6. Distribution of Insured Population by Nationality in the Business and Construction sectors (March 2007)
Source: IKA (March 2007)
Table 7. Distribution of Insured Population by Economic Activity and Nationality in the Business and Construction Sectors (March 2007)
Source: IKA (March 2007)
4.3.2 Discrimination against immigrants in the Greek labour market It is difficult to assess the extent to which immigrants experience discrimination in the workplace as well as to identify what form of discrimination might be more widespread in the Greek labour market. Do immigrants living and working in Greece experience discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity? On the grounds of nationality? Religion? Age or gender? Are there differences between sectors of the economy? Are these differences more relevant to some nationalities and less to others, or in some parts of Greece less than in others (i.e. in rural or urban areas)? Are most forms of discrimination direct or indirect? Has there been a change in more recent years as the immigrant workforce has grown larger and has been regularized to a larger degree? And, are immigrants who have been the victims of discrimination seeking appropriate recourses to challenge cases of discrimination and protect their rights, particularly in the employment sector? Here we only sketch a tentative picture based on the existing studies and data. Discrimination in wages Census data on migrants’ wages does not exist (Drydakis and Vlassis, 2007: 3). The only reliable primary source of data that can be useful in this context is the regular employment overview statistics presented by IKA. This is the data that has been used in the previous section. Moreover, very limited research has been undertaken on this subject. The material that does exist is principally in the form of reports compiled by national observatories and in the annual reports of designated authorities. The most 66
noteworthy, reliable and thorough ones include the annual reports of the Greek Ombudsman and the reports by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). The only research that has been identified by the literature review that was conducted in the preparation of this report is a study conducted by Lianos, Sarri and Katseli (1996) comparing the wages of Greek nationals and third country nationals in rural areas of northern Greece. This study revealed that in the mid-1990s, migrant workers (with a legal status) were paid approximately 15% less than Greeks employed for the same job, whereas illegal/ irregular migrant workers were paid up to 60% less. This wage discrimination pattern, though it has improved overall, persists today. Recent data (2007) obtained from the regular tri-monthly updates of the National Welfare Institute (IKA) concerning waged labourers show a significant inequality between the wages of different nationalities. Foreign workers receive wages that are between 30% and 50% lower than those of Greeks for general waged work and services. However, this inequality is significantly lower (between 6% and 15%) when it comes to the construction sector (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof 2008). Inequality similarly affects citizens of larger immigrant groups who come from neighbouring countries, citizens of Eastern European countries and citizens of Asian countries with no previous cultural or historical ties with Greece. Thus, it appears that discrimination and inequality is structured along the axis Greek/nonGreek rather than depending on the specific nationality of the worker. Naturally, this hypothesis needs further testing. Also the pattern of wage inequality suggests that in the ethnicised sectors of the labour market such as construction, discrimination and inequality in wages is lower, showing that there is probably a higher need for immigrant work and a better insertion of migrant labourers in these sectors. These findings are confirmed by a recent study (Drydakis and Vlassis 2007) on low-skilled male workers, which suggests that Albanians (the largest immigrant group in Greece): (1) receive monthly wages up to 8.8% lower that Greeks (and 5.3% below the legal minimum wage); (2) face a 43.5% less chance of being recruited (access to employment); and (3) are 36.5% less likely to be formally declared and thereby receive appropriate and full insurance coverage. The fact that immigrants usually receive lower pay for equal time and type of work compared to Greece was also confirmed in our interviews with officials of the labour permit unit dealing with third-country nationals in the Employment Directorate of the Greek Ministry of Employment (Interview, 31st October 2007). During the interview, the Greek Ministry of Employment officials stated that their experience in previous posts at Labour Inspection Offices shows that immigrants, Albanians in particular, are all employed (compared to Greeks who, in their view, face more difficulties in findings a job). According to the interviewees, Albanian immigrants and also generally irregular migrants accepted lower wages – this was the reason why they were preferred by employers. This was perceived as a conscious entry-method into the labour market on the part of immigrants. The interviewees argued that once immigrants have the job and develop the relevant and necessary skills, they then demand higher wages from the employer. Thus, eventually they reach the same levels as a Greek worker would be paid. This difference in wage was not considered a discriminatory practice that had to be combated because it was unfair, unequal and perpetuated conditions of insecurity. Rather, it was considered as unfair competition on the part of immigrants that put Greek workers at a disadvantage. Hence, the role of the Employment Directorate (responsible also for checking labour market shortages
annually and planning new inflows to fill vacancies in specific sectors and regions) was seen as one of putting a stop to migration with a view to protecting the ‘vulnerable’ Greek workers rather than ‘leaving the labour market without controls, letting all migrants come here as they wish.’ (Interview 1). These views of Greek public officials are indeed interesting as they turn the notion of discrimination and inequality on its head: it is those who are discriminated against that actually ‘discriminate’ against those who receive the legal wages! Discrimination in wages in the Greek labour market takes other forms as well. Migrants are more vulnerable than Greeks, on average, both economically and in terms of legal status: they need to be in employment both to survive and to renew their stay permits. They thus often accept to work without welfare insurance which, however, they end up paying through their own means with a view to buying the necessary welfare ‘stamps’ which prove their employment and are a sine qua non condition for renewing their permits. Indeed, Greece has a large informal economy that facilitates the persistence of undeclared work both for natives and immigrants. Indeed the informal economy has been both a salvation for migrants, irregular migrants in particular (and the vast majority of immigrant workers initially arrived in Greece without appropriate permits) and a curse. It is difficult even for migrants with legal status to find employers willing to pay their insurance as they should (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof 2008). This is one of the forms of inequality that immigrant workers suffer in Greece that can be characterized clearly as a form of opportunistic discrimination: being a non EU foreigner and hence somebody with insecure legal status creates the conditions for their being discriminated against by employers who are prepared to engage in discriminatory employment practices. Discrimination in job hiring In its third report, ECRI denounced the existence of job-advertisements in the classified sections of nation-wide newspapers that clearly state in the application criteria that ‘third-country nationals are excluded’ (2004: 16). ECRI noted that even though these practices have been denounced by NGOs and some newspapers have committed themselves to not publish such advertisements in the future, no penalties have so far been imposed against any party responsible for engaging or supporting discriminatory behaviour. The Greek Economic and Social Committee also refers to research conducted by the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection in 2007 which monitored the classified sections of four large nation-wide newspapers. According to this research, 35% of all job advertisement contained a criterion that stated some sort of preference. Of these, in 20% of the cases the criterion was related to the gender of the job applicant, 14% was related to the age and 1% was related to the ethnic background (ESC 2008: 10). The situations described above shows the existence of widespread opportunistic discrimination, as described by Wrench (2007), affecting immigrant workers in Greece. The question that naturally arises is how does this happen in the face of broad anti-discrimination legislation both at the European and Greek level. This is the question that we set out to answer through our fieldwork.
4.5 The legislative framework of anti-discrimination in Greece and its enforcement Anti-discrimination policies came onto the Greek agenda in a top-down manner, i.e. through the EU level following the adoption of the EC Directives on AntiDiscrimination and Equality. This is a different process to the ones experienced in Britain and France for instance where the debate on various forms of discrimination was a result and a product of the longer migration experience, and where discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and religion became an important and politically sensitive issue on the public agenda. Policies thus had to be formulated to respond to the pressures raised largely from below. In the case of Greece, similarly to other southern European countries that have become destination countries for immigrants from around the world in the past twenty years, anti-discrimination policies are a recent phenomenon that have been developed as a result of the transposition of the EC directives in national legislation. This transposition is elite driven and is only recently and gradually triggering the attention of civil society. This section presents the legal framework currently in place in Greece relating to equality and anti-discrimination and the principle specialized /enforcement bodies and agencies that are involved in this field. It also provides an overview of the current state of implementation of this legislation as it applies to migrants and employment. 4.5.1 The legal framework Law 3304/2005 aims at setting up a general, regulatory framework for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, as well as combating discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as regards employment and occupation, with a view to putting into effect the principle of equal treatment. Both direct and indirect/ implicit discrimination is defined in the legislation. In the case of the former it refers to situations when an individual experiences less favourable treatment than another in a comparable situation for reasons of racial or ethnic background. In the case of the latter, it refers to an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice that may place individuals belonging to a particular racial or ethnic background at a disadvantage, unless this can be objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means for achieving this aim are appropriate and necessary (Art.3). These provisions are applicable to all public and private actors as regards access to employment and employment in general. This includes recruitment, employment conditions, promotion and professional development at all levels of professional hierarchy, wages and compensation in the event of dismissal. The legislation is also applicable to all kinds and levels of professional and vocational training, education, membership and participation in workers’ or employers’ organizations, social protection including social security and healthcare, as well as access to social goods and services. As regards the general legal principle concerning equal employment rights, Presidential Decrees no. 358/1997 and 359/1997 confer equal employment rights to Greek citizens and foreign nationals legally working in Greece. Thus, third country nationals legally employed in Greece are subject to Greek labour law on the same
conditions as Greek nationals. In this context, third country nationals enjoy the same rights to membership and activity in trade unions, employers and employee organizations29; however, there are discriminatory provisions towards third-country nationals regarding compensation in case of a work accident (unless there is reciprocity between Greece and the individual’s country of origin) (Ktistakis, 2007: 25). ‘Social care’ is also provided without any distinction since it involves the state’s responsibility and every person legally residing in Greece who is in a state of emergency is entitled to social care (Law no. 2646/1998). And, as mentioned above, social goods (including housing, public education, labour law protection and social security, reduced fares and coupons for large families, etc.) are also granted to all on the basis of equal treatment and non-discrimination. The law also lays out a number of exceptions to the applicability of the principle of equal treatment. Differentiated treatment does not constitute discrimination in cases where by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities concerned, or the context in which these are carried out, certain restrictions apply provided that the objective is legitimate, genuine and proportionate. As such, there are special provisions for professions related to churches, religious institutions, the armed forces and security forces (police, prison or emergency services such as the fire department). The law also stipulates that it does not affect provisions on entry and residence of third country nationals or stateless person in Greece. In the event an individual considers he/she has been discriminated against then they need to present the court or the competent authority with the facts on which they consider there has been direct or indirect discrimination. The significant step forward in this field is that the burden of proof lies with the respondent to indicate that in civil law cases there has been no breach of the principle of equal treatment. Infringements of the law prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, disability, age or gender in the context of public goods and services may be punishable by incarceration (between 6 months and 3 years) and fines (ranging between 1,000-5,000 euro). Infringement of this legislation by an employer is punishable by the relevant fines and sanctions; these are stipulated in the employment legislation outlined in Law 2639/1998 (Government Gazette 205 A’), they may be identified as civil, penal or administrative infringements and fines may range between 500-30,000 euro. Contrary to what was suggested by the European legislation Greece has put some restrictions concerning to the level of initiative that NGOs can take on behalf of affected individuals. The latter need to give their consent in writing that an NGO sues a given employer for a discrimination case on their behalf. Moreover, for the NGO to bring a case to court, they have to include in their statute as part of their mission the fight against discrimination or the protection of the rights of a given group that is then found to be discriminated against. Concerning positive actions undertaken in combating all forms of discrimination, the law stipulates that the adoption or maintenance of special measures to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to racial or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation will not be considered discrimination. In this context, the Ministries of Labour and Finance with the Greek
Although there were difficulties in terms of third country nationals joining professional associations until relatively recently based on the Civil Code that stipulated that executive board members of nonprofit organizations had to be Greek nationals, this has been amended principally on the basis of the interpretation of the freedoms of association and non-discrimination stipulated in the ECHR (Ktistakis, 2007: 31-32).
Labour Force Organisation (OAED) have started promoting measures to promote the inclusion of so-called ‘vulnerable social groups’ into the labour market. Immigrants, refugees and persons with specific religious or cultural characteristics such as the Roma, fall into this categorization. The Third Community Support Framework and the European Social Fund have provided the wider framework for these measures. Ktistakis has effectively argued that the general framework laid out by this law is formally correct, yet essentially it does not fully respond to the spirit of the Council Directive. The Greek authorities limited themselves to copying the provisions rather than providing specific regulations and taking concrete actions in order to adequately implement them in the Greek legal system (2007: 6). In effect, the need for improved legislation was underlined by the European Commission in early 2008. EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr. Vladimir Spidla, identified eleven EU Member States that have not correctly transposed the EU Directives into national law thereby not enabling them to achieve their full potential (IP/08/155, 31 January 2008). Greece was among these eleven Member States and the European Commission’s ‘reasoned opinion’ stipulated that in the case of Greece there was (1) an incorrect definition of what constitutes harassment, and (2) the fire services were excluded from the legislation transposing the Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) (MEMO/08/68, 31 January 2008). As a final note for this section, given that there has not yet been a case judged in the Greek courts on the application or interpretation of the anti-discrimination legislation, there is at the time of writing (April 2008) no case-law to complement the current legislative framework (Ktistakis, 2007: 6). 4.5.2 Specialised actors in the field of employment: competences and lacunae The law specifies a number of specialized committees and bodies that are responsible for promoting the principle of equal treatment, for reporting on developments in this field and for monitoring the implementation of the relevant legal provisions. The Economic and Social Committee (Οικονοµική και Κοινωνική Επιτροπή) (ESC), established by Law 2232/1994 (Government Gazette 140 A’), is responsible for drafting annual reports on the implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation with particular reference to the workplace (Art.18). The ESC is assigned the task of proposing measures to the government and the social partners aimed at promoting the principle of equal treatment and combating discrimination. It is additionally responsible for encouraging and engaging in a wider dialogue with civil society and non-governmental organizations active in combating all forms of discrimination and in promoting awareness of anti-discrimination legislation and measures at the national and local levels. The Greek Ombudsman (Συνήγορος του Πολίτη) is the designated authority for cases where public authorities have infringed the principle of equal treatment. As an Independent Authority (operating under Article 103 of the Constitution and Law 2477/1997), the Ombudsman is responsible for reporting and publishing special reports on the enforcement and promotion of the principle of equal treatment. The Ombudsman may provide legal aid, assistance and general advice to persons who consider themselves to have been victims of discrimination, and may request public services to provide relevant information and documentation relating to relevant cases. Cases where individuals and private actors have infringed the principle of equal treatment, fall within the remit of the Equal Treatment Committee’s
responsibilities (Επιτροπή Ίσης Μεταχείρισης), which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. The Equal Treatment Committee was set up in 2005 and has competence over all fields with the exception of the public sector (covered by the Ombudsman) and it does not cover employment and occupation (since this falls within the Labour Inspectorate’s remit). It has the competence to examine complaints for violation of equal treatment, publish relevant reports and issue recommendations on discrimination issues, but it cannot intervene in legal cases concerning discrimination, nor cannot it impose sanctions (Ktistakis, 2007: 52). The Labour Inspectorate (Σώµα Επιθεώρησης Εργασίας) is responsible for infringements in the workplace. It performs inspections aimed at ensuring the implementation of legislation and has the authority to institute criminal proceedings or impose fines against employers in cases of infringement. As Ktistakis has noted (2007: 5), however, and also our fieldwork confirmed (Interview 3), the Labour Inspectorate is under-resourced and its staff lack the appropriate training and expertise to be able to fulfill the Inspectorate’s role to its full potential. Finally, the Equal Treatment Service of the Social Protection Service of the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection is responsible for the following tasks: supporting the work of the Work Inspectorate; acting as a mediator in the case of a claim; publishing opinions interpreting the legal provisions on equality and non-discrimination; informing and promoting equal opportunity initiatives aimed at social cohesion. Interviews were conducted with representatives or associates of all these institutions in order to better understand their respective roles; the challenges that have been faced as far as the implementation of the EC Directives is concerned and the issues that need to be addressed; the kind of discrimination they perceive is present in the Greek labour market particularly as regards migrant workers; and the priorities that they consider need to be pursued in the anti-discrimination field. A first conclusion that may be drawn is that there exists an evident lack of coordination between these actors. The aforementioned legislation indicates the frequency at which the Committee meetings should take place and stipulates that these designated authorities should work in collaboration. As has also been reported by the Greek Ombudsman, the number of meetings that have taken place between these authorities and the content of the issues examined have been described as being ‘extremely limited’ (2006a). According to one of the people holding the secretariat of this Committee, the meetings are limited because of the lack of complaints and the overall inertia of civil society (Interview 6). In its Annual Report (2006a), the Greek Ombudsman deplored the fact that the Equal Treatment Committee remains under-resourced and therefore unable to sufficiently fulfill its responsibilities. It also noted that meetings remained restricted to exchange of opinions rather than in-depth examination of cases of alleged discrimination brought to the relevant designated authorities. The report also questions the Equal Treatment Committee’s ability to act as an independent actor given its institutional affiliation with the Ministry of Justice (2006a: 187). In effect, the ESC similarly underlines the shortcomings of the Equal Treatment Committee and its lack of response to requests for information or collaboration in this field and proposes that the competences currently assigned to it be transferred to the Greek Ombudsman. The ESC argues that the Ombudsman’s impressive and positive record in its current competences would constitute valuable experience in this field, while such an extension would effectively involve an extension of the Ombudsman responsibilities in the field of gender equality (2008: 12). This proposal was also strongly supported by one of the legal experts in the field of discrimination and
human rights who we interviewed and who has also served as member of the Equal Treatment Committee (Interview 7). He argued that the Ombudsman is at present the only Independent Authority in Greece that would be able to effectively, efficiently and coherently take on the task of monitoring policies and practices and the extent to which these fulfill the equal opportunity and anti-discrimination principles. Regarding the extent to which the Labour Inspectorate fulfilled its responsibilities, here too the Ombudsman’s Annual Report noted inefficiencies. In this case, however, according to the Ombudsman, the Labour Inspectorate’s shortcomings stemmed from the fact that lower and middle rank employees had not been made aware of the Inspectorate’s new, specialized responsibilities on issues of discrimination in the workplace and the new legislative framework (ibid: 187). The ESC, in its report, noted that the Labour Inspectorate had not published an annual report on these matters and that in response to the ESC’s written request for information, it had replied that no cases regarding the infringement of the equal treatment principle had been reported in matters falling within its competences (based on Law 3304/2005). However, our own fieldwork (Interview 3) suggests that immigrants frequently turn to their local Labour Inspection Offices to denounce exploitation by employers (refusal to pay past wages, or to pay extra for overtime, nightshifts, working on weekends, and irregular firing practices). Our interviewee suggested that they are able to settle most of these disputes without going to court by simply calling on and summoning the employers. They noted that immigrants used their services that are provided free of charge, rather than turning to lawyers. Moreover, they informed us that their services were being used increasingly often and that Labour Inspector’s mediation was preferred in order not to have to face the exploitative employer personally. Naturally, these are the views of the Head of the Labour Inspection office of a particular district with a high proportion of immigrant employment in greenhouses and construction work at the northern periphery of Athens and may as well reflect her personal views and experiences rather than any generalisable trend. Table 8. Complaints at a Labour Inspectorate in Northern Athens
Year Complaints by foreigners 2007 360 91 2006 299 50 2005 343 100 2004 355 75 2003 391 103 Source: Triandafyllidou and Maroufof 2008: table 7.1 on p.51. Total complaints % of the total 25,27% 16,72% 29,15% 21,12% 26,34%
Indeed, our own observation of the activity of this specific office (see table above) shows that the number of cases that concerned foreigners remains small compared to the size of the immigrant working population in this Athens area. However, the role of labour inspectorates appears to be acquiring relevance for the defence of migrant workers’ rights. Labour Inspection offices, however, do not appear to be aware that the cases they examine may involve discriminatory and not just exploitative practices, the distinction between the two being indeed sometimes quite subtle and difficult to prove.
In its assessment of the role of the specialized bodies in combating all forms of discrimination, the National Human Rights Committee (Εθνική Επιτροπή ∆ικαιωµάτων του Ανθρώπου) similarly criticizes the fact that these specialized bodies, and in particular the Equal Treatment Committee and the Labour Inspectorate: - are limited to a role of conciliator or mediator between the accused and the victim; - do not have the competence to provide legal assistance to victims and intervene on their behalf; - lack institutional independence (since they are affiliated to the Ministries of Justice and Labour respectively); - and, are under-resourced both in terms of staff and means. To conclude, since 2005 the degree of active enforcement of the anti-discrimination legislation has been disappointingly low. There has been inaction on the part of the relevant authorities in pushing for a more proactive and meaningful implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation. The Ombudsman expressed the conviction that this transition period was over and that it expected a growing mobilization on matters of equality and nondiscrimination on the part of the Labour Inspectorate as well as on the part of the Confederation of Trade Unions (ΓΣΕΕ) and the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (Interview 9). Overall, all interviewees emphasized that now that the legislative and institutional framework was in place and the first period of raising awareness on anti-discrimination issues was completed, developments in this field were gradually expected. In fact, both the ESC and the Equal Treatment Committee informants (Interviews 4, 5 and 6) referred to the experience in the field of gender equality where some time (indeed more than a decade) had been required both for a useful case-law to develop and for a shift in attitudes and expectations to take place thus giving meaning and content to the principles outlined in the relevant legislation and policy priorities. Similarly, it was expected that given that the law was only two years old, the anti-discrimination framework would soon take on a substance of its own and it will be able to draw from the resources and precedents set in the field of gender equality to all other areas of discrimination. It is interesting to note the repeated reference by all actors to the EU context. Reference to the importance of the EU was underlined both directly and indirectly in legislative terms, as regards the setting of policy priorities and the importance of the financial resources that have been made available. For one, the present antidiscrimination legislation is the direct result of the transposition of the EC Directives. Second, the discourse of all actors highlighted that anti-discrimination matters were an EU standard that had to be met within the Greek labour market and efforts had to be intensified in this direction. Indeed the Minister of Employment Fani Palli Petralia giving a speech at a major conference against discriminations sponsored by the European Commission and the Greek government noted explicitly that the fight against all forms of discrimination and the respect for human rights was related both to our own roots and to our European identity (broadcasted in the prime time evening news of 30 September 2008, ET 1, National Television Network). Symbolic talk on Europe is thus an important part of the anti discrimination policy and politics in Greece. Third, EU initiatives and funding have been pivotal in kick-starting national initiatives and interest in this field. The funding and awareness raising that has been made possible during the 2007 Equal Opportunities Year and the 2008 Multicultural Dialogue Year, or in the framework of the European Social Fund’s EQUAL and
PROGRESS programmes, or through the INTI and ARGO programmes,30 provided the platform, the resources and the wider context within which training programmes could be developed, awareness raising campaigns were organized by public authorities and civil society initiatives were able to be implemented. One such example is that in 2007 the Hellenic Ministry of Employment and Social Protection implemented a public awareness and information campaign on respect for diversity and on promoting the representation of people belonging to difference social groups at the local, regional and national levels in the framework of the 2007 Equal Opportunities Year. It also supported the completion of eight National Thematic Networks (funded by the EQUAL programme) that focus on discrimination on the basis of age and diversity management in the workplace (ESC 2008: 10). EU policies in this field have acted as a powerful pull factor in the Greek context. 4.5 Other challenges of enforcement The disappointingly low response rate to the new legislative framework is not only a characteristic of the designated authorities. Civil society representatives, and in particular non-governmental organizations that focus on issues of equality and nondiscrimination issues, have not responded to the new possibilities offered for recourse in this field in a dynamic manner. It is notable that until 2006 only two reports were submitted to the Ombudsman with the active involvement of an NGO on the claim that the principle of equal treatment had been breached (2006a: 188). Rather than taking an active, frontseat role in supporting individuals or groups vulnerable to discrimination, Greek NGOs have continued to focus principally on dissemination of information and awareness-raising on matters of equal treatment and non-discrimination. This point was reiterated in the 2007 Annual Report of the Ombudsman. In spite of the slow and limited reaction of both the public authorities and Greek civil society in tackling instances of discrimination in the workplace, there was a substantial increase in the number of cases examined by the Greek Ombudsman during 2006 and 2007 on the grounds of this legislation. A significant number of these cases relating to discrimination in the workplace and in the field of education were submitted on the basis of ethnic origin and involved immigrants or naturalized citizens (2006a: 190-195), while most cases in unequal access to social goods and services, and particularly housing on the basis of ethnic origin involved Roma. The Ombudsman, however, underlines that the low number of discrimination cases filed is disconcerting. It suggests a reluctance and hesitation on the part of victims of discrimination to come forward and publicly expose their personal or social life (particularly regarding cases of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, religious beliefs or sexual harassment) and turn to the designated national bodies for remedies (2007; Interview 9). This raises the issue of levels of trust towards state institutions and of the existence of a set of personal and societal factors that discourage claims to legal protection. Thus, although the Greek anti-discrimination legislative framework has formally fully transposed the EU directives, there is a significant gap in the manner in
INTI concerns the integration of third country nationals and ARGO concentrates on cooperation between administrations on border, asylum and migration issues.
which it is implemented. The principle reasons for the implementation deficiency are synthesized below. First, middle and low-ranking public service employees have not been made aware and/or have not sufficiently understood the new responsibilities and duties assigned to them by the national legislation in the field of non-discrimination. This is even more so the case concerning the responsibilities they assume that they have (or rather do not have) towards migrants on employment matters. This is the case for the staff of the Labour Inspectorate, which is the competent authority for ordinary employment contracts, just as it is for the wider public sector. As the Greek Ombudsman has underlined, cases ‘have not been investigated or were not even registered as such while the main institutional tool provided by the new framework (namely the ‘shift’ of the burden of proof) had not been even activated’ (2006b: 2). Second, there are a number of structural and practical shortcomings affecting the designated bodies assigned with combating discrimination in the public and private sectors. They are under-staffed and under-resourced. In some cases, their legal standing is not conducive to the role they are called to fulfill as regard the necessary independence from the relevant Ministries required to this intent. And, they have not yet established a regular pattern of coordination and collaboration. This suggests that the implementation of this legislation has not been considered a top priority by the national government that has not invested the necessary (and appropriate) human and material resources in these bodies, nor the required political capital to prioritise the objective of combating all forms of discrimination. If we contextualize this in the general background of Greece’s history of reactive and delayed responses in the field of migration policy then this can be explained in part by the fact that as a more recent immigration country, and with migrants only relatively recently being acknowledged as a more permanent reality in Greek society and in the Greek labour market, attitudes in the public administration, among civil servants, and wider public opinion and employers, have not yet ‘caught up’ in a way with the existing situation. As such, the obligation and responsibility to equally apply non-discriminatory principles to third country nationals in the workplace is only recently becoming a more wide-spread, conscious practice. Third, the traditional weakness of Greek civil society adds another dimension to the present deficiency. With some noteworthy exceptions of course, Greek civil society does not function as a sufficiently dynamic, proactive push factor in pressuring the various public and private authorities to respect, implement and adhere to the new legislative framework. Nor has it taken creative initiatives in bringing cases of discrimination forward and seeking remedies and thereby provoking change and progress from the bottom up. The legacy of a paternalistic state and political party system has acted as a factor hindering the development of a civil society with a ‘lobbying’ mentality. However, the resources that have been provided, particularly from the EU level over the past decade have created a critical mass and the foundations for NGOs to be able to implement their projects and to have access to the wider public sphere and contribute to the public debate on these issues. A fourth issue that has been identified in this study is the confusion between exploitation and discrimination in the Greek labour market. While immigrants face widespread inequality in terms of their level of wages, jobs they are offered, other benefits (e.g. insurance, overtime pay, etc.) it remains unclear whether such inequality is the result of opportunistic discrimination or simply a question of unscrupulous employers who know it is very unlikely that they will face an inspection and who take advantage of the immigrant’s socio-economic vulnerability. This dilemma is common
in other southern European countries too (Zapata Barrero 2008), notably whether to define inequality as exploitation or discrimination. The question also arises as regards irregular migrants who are obliged to work in the informal economy and who in Greece in particular are not allowed to turn to public authorities for help and protection. Indeed, we need more empirical studies on this subject both with immigrant workers and their employers to explore the latter’s attitudes towards employing an immigrant worker, with or without appropriate documents. 4.6. Concluding remarks and policy recommendations The combined lack of awareness, coordination and initiative, leads to the present reality, namely that the new regulatory framework is not yet being appropriately and adequately implemented. This has two equally significant consequences. First, there are continuing discriminatory practices in the employment field. Second, there is as yet no tangible progress towards rendering the anti-discrimination legislation more appropriately tailored to the Greek reality, economy and society. Once specific cases are made public or brought to court, these will be able to serve as a gradually accumulated experience that will, in turn, permit specific improvements to be made. The challenge of implementation is further complicated by the aforementioned characteristics of the Greek economy, where a significant portion of employment and economic activity is conducted informally. Thus, even with perfect laws and with well-functioning processes in place, when individuals are employed without being declared, the challenge of protecting and enforcing their rights (ranging from employment protection, wages, social security benefits, insurance, equality, promotion, etc) becomes all the more greater. Naturally, this is even more the case for migrant workers who do not have the social networks or the local social capital to be able to protect themselves. On this matter, the need to continue proceeding with efforts to regularize and legalise the status of the migrant population in Greece has to be pursued in parallel with wider efforts to formalize larger segments of the country’s economic activity and with comprehensive policies promoting social cohesion and social inclusion. This requires a clear political commitment on the part of the government and public administration. It is necessary to underline here the importance and impact of the EC Directives and of a range of EU initiatives (such as declaring 2007 as the Year for Equal Opportunities for All and 2008 as the Year for Multicultural Dialogue) and funding for addressing and tackling discrimination in Greece. Prior to these directives the anti-discrimination legislative and institutional field had not been set up (with the exception of gender equality legislation). The resources that have been made available via the EU have permitted a range of activities, including awareness raising efforts and trainings on these issues. In this sense there has been a clear top-down spill over effect from the EU to the national level in terms of bringing anti-discrimination issues into public policy and gradually making them relevant for the standards that in principle ought to be respected in the Greek labour market. Finally, in practical terms the following issues need further consideration on the part of policy makers and relevant actors: • People belonging to groups that may be ‘vulnerable’ to various forms of discrimination must be made aware of their rights to equal opportunities and non-discrimination; in addition, they must be informed of procedures and responsible bodies, channels that they can use to ask for protection.
Awareness needs to be raised in ways that are suited to each group’s particularities and needs, while relevant activities need to branch out far beyond the ‘usual’ participants of the native majority that tend to take part in general public campaigns, with a view to including immigrant actors. Public service employees and officials at the local, regional and national levels of governance, across all sectors but particularly those who may be in more regular contact with individuals falling into one or more ‘vulnerable’ group, need to be adequately informed and trained on human rights and on responsibilities ensuing from the equality and anti-discrimination legislation; social workers, justice officials, public prosecutors, police officers, and labour inspection employees are among the top priorities. Greater coordination and information sharing - in quantitative and qualitative terms – is required among the relevant actors (Ministries, Independent Authorities, etc) on the initiatives and activities that they intend to pursue in this field in order to maximize synergies, coherence and use of resources. The more active and substantial involvement and inclusion of actors such as the Economic and Social Committee could be useful here because of its wider networks with representatives from the private, public and non-governmental sectors (including its networks with the immigrant civil society). Efforts to regularize and legalise the status of the migrant population in Greece and formalize larger segments of the country’s economic activity, cannot rely solely on the efforts and top-down initiative of central public authorities. The role the Confederation of Trade Unions can play in terms of awareness building and in promoting equality and anti-discrimination principles in the sectors where it has a strong presence is pivotal. The Labour Inspectorate has a core role to play in conducting more thorough, regular and exhaustive inspections across the country and across all sectors of the economy and in engaging in the appropriate procedures against employers where irregularities are noted. These constitute necessary requirements for the anti-discrimination and equality legislation to eventually be effectively implemented. The experience and authority that has been acquired by the Greek Ombudsman in its spheres of competence is particularly useful in the antidiscrimination field. Our research on the subject has led us to the conclusion that either the scope of competences of the Ombudsman must be expanded beyond gender matters to encompass all aspects of discrimination in the public and private employment sector, or a new authority needs to be created that will be equipped with the independence and resources similar to those of the Ombudsman to be able to fulfill the requirements on the field. The legal system needs to be more proactive in this field by dynamically launching a voluntary, no-fee based legal advice service to support both individuals and civil society organizations in defending their rights on the basis of equal opportunity and the non-discrimination principles, and in seeking remedies where necessary. With a view to strengthening civil society bottom-up action in the field, the law needs to be reformed so as to (a) waive the need of the person suffering the discrimination to give her/his consent in writing for an NGO to act on her/his behalf; and (b) abolish the requirement that the NGO in question that can act on behalf of the complainant has to have as its stated mission (as stated
in its statute) the defence of the relevant vulnerable group or the fight against discrimination. The legal and judicial systems also need to take more initiative in this field by examining the existing legislation and contributing to the clarification of certain concepts in practical terms (i.e. as regards the burden of proof, definitions of discrimination, the extension of equality beyond the employment sector, representation, etc). Greek NGOs that have an interest in this field must become more ‘hands-on’ in pursuing certain cases with the relevant authorities in order to actively contribute to the development of case-law that will provide the equality and anti-discrimination framework with actual meaning and substance. This in part also requires a shift in mentalities on the part of Greek civil society that should act more as a ‘push’ factor for reforms and policies. Improvement needs to also come from ‘below’ to be more coherent and to correspond to the actual needs of the more ‘vulnerable’ groups, rather than wait for the governmental and state authorities, that retain a paternalistic legacy /approach, to take the initiative on moving beyond the current situation of essentially formal protection against discrimination.
Annex I to Chapter 4: List of Interviews Interview 1 & 2 Employee, Ministry of Employment, Department of Employment, and Director and Head of Department of department for the employment of aliens, Athens, 31 October 2007 (10.00-12.00). Interview 3, Head of Regional Labour Inspectorate (SEPE), area of Anoixi, northern Athens, 22 November 2007 Interview 4 & 5, Joint interview with Scientific Advisor responsible for social security and social policy and Scientific Consultant in the field of labour law of the Greek Economic and Social Committee, conducted at the ESC’s headquarters in Athens on 19th June 2008 (09:00 – 11:00) Interview 6, Employee working at the Secretariat of the Equal Treatment Committee of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice interview conducted at the Ministry in Athens on 19th June 2008 (11:30 – 13:30) Interview 7, Legal expert on anti-discrimination, Lecturer, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, interview conducted at a café in Komotini, Thrace, 3 June 2008, 09.00-10.00. Interview 8, Legal expert who had participated in the Inter-ministerial Committee preparing the bill that later became Law 3304/2005, currently Associate Professor, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, 17 June 2008, 15.00-16.00 Interview 9, Deputy Greek Ombudsman, Interview conducted at the Ombudsman’s office in Athens, 24 June 2008 (11:00 – 13:00) Interview 10, Research Associate, Greek Ombudsman, Interview conducted in Athens on 17 December 2007 (15:00 – 16:15).
CHAPTER 5 Political Challenges Arising From Migration Related Diversity
5.1 Introduction Political participation encompasses rights and representation, and it constitutes a core determinant of the quality of a country’s democracy. Democracy is a dynamic concept. The ways in which it is defined depends on the processes through which it is exercised and on the degree of its inclusiveness. A core pillar of democracy is its representativeness; in other words, that all those concerned by a decision are directly or indirectly able to participate in the decision-making process by expressing their position and defending their stake. Where significant portions of the population living within a constituency are excluded from formal means of political expression and representation, this translates into a democratic deficit. In fact, The Council of Europe’s Group of Specialists on Nationality has argued that being excluded from the decision-making process when concerned by a decision, infringes the dignity of a person, and that the essence of democracy is its representativeness (Council of Europe 2008: 3). Thus, a fundamental aim of democratic governance in Europe is to ensure that all groups and segments of a polity’s population are included in the democratic process. The dynamic nature of democracy is also expressed in the ways it which it evolves and changes along with and in response to its constituency’s needs. Over the past two decades, a series of migration influxes have deeply changed Greece’s demographic characteristics. The return of co-ethnic Greeks and their descendents and the migration of third country nationals have increased the population by over 10% and have subsequently raised a number of challenges relating to their integration in the social, economic and cultural spheres of the receiving society. Integration and participation in these spheres is inherently linked with political and normative choices and obligations both on the part of the receiving society and on the part of the migrants. As such, this raises entitlements and rights that are associated with the way democracies respond to change, accommodate new claims, and make space to represent and include the interests of all its constituent parts. As the experience of older host migration countries suggests, migration causes deep and significant diversification in demographic, cultural, societal, economic and political terms. This diversity poses numerous challenges for all European democracies that are faced with rapidly changing conditions and are attempting to formulate appropriate responses aimed at reconciling respect for diversity and inclusiveness in the democratic polity. Diversity resulting from migration presents a number of opportunities and challenges. It impacts the way national identity is constructed and the way it is understood; it presents new democratic challenges for the way in which the principle of equal opportunities can be enjoyed by all. It impacts the way democracy is approached in terms of representation and participation and consequently, in terms of legitimacy and in the way in which the social contract is (re)defined. In short, it raises a set of wide-ranging political challenges for the receiving society and political system that is called to adapt to the new, dynamic reality and propose new methods of negotiation, conciliation, integration and cohesion.
In this context, the following issues have been raised and are at present being debated among Greece’s political and intellectual elites: Is citizenship required for individuals to be able to participate and have a stake in the society in which they live? Or is citizenship required only for participating in certain levels of governance and not in others (i.e. it is required for the national level of governance but not relevant for the local or the regional)? What length of legal residence is required before a migrant can and ought to have access to the receiving country’s citizenship? Is there a civic identity that can be developed in a multicultural society that encourages the participation and representation of old and new citizens and thereby enriches the quality of a country’s democracy? How participatory ought and can a democracy be? How might the inclusion of new citizens or new voters in a democratic polity affect the receiving country’s political sphere and at the same time, how might the political cleavages in a country affect the policies and positions as regards political participation, naturalization policies and democratic practice? These are some of the debates and dilemmas faced by most European democracies regardless of whether they have an older or newer migration history. The need for current democratic processes to respond to present diversity is pressing as concerns for social cohesion, and the degree people and communities are integrated or excluded from the rest of society are high. Integration and access to equal opportunity can thus be perceived as both conditions and criteria for the quality of democracy (Council of Europe 2008: 4). Significant efforts and improvements have already been made across Europe to respond to the nature and speed of change that European societies are undergoing. Initiatives and policies aiming at inclusiveness in various sectors (education, housing, labour market, social and health services, etc) are being pursued, and the political sphere is one of these. This paper concentrates on the political dimensions of participation in the case of Greece that now counts two full decades of migration against this background. With regard to formal participation in the country’s political life, voting and standing for elections is restricted to Greek citizens only (with an exception that distinguishes special rights to Cypriots). EU citizens may participate in local and European Parliament elections (based on EC Council Directive 94/80). There are no formal institutions or mechanisms (such as consultative committees at the city council level, etc) for including third country nationals; thus, participation in the political realm requires citizenship acquisition. With the exception of the co-ethnic returnees and their descendants from the former Soviet republics who migrated to Greece in the 1990s and who were offered the option to naturalise upon arrival, immigrant naturalisation has effectively begun only in the past couple of years when long-term migrants have been gradually fulfilling the condition of ten years of legal residence. Debates on the political participation of third country nationals (TCN) in local level politics are a recent development within political parties; while there appears to be an in principle crossparty acceptance of the need to grant political participation to TCN for local elections, this debate has only timidly started to appear in the public domain. In addition to the procedural aspects, there are also other possibilities for TCN to be able to participate in the political debate of their country of residence. Such initiatives, as mentioned above, have not yet been developed in Greece as there are no special consulting or other bodies at the national or local level formally including or encouraging immigrant participation. As will be discussed in the next sections, we can note a number of initiatives on behalf of the main political parties to informally and gradually also formally reach out to migrants.
This paper explores the political participation and representation of Greece’s immigrant population, and the ways in which the Greek political arena has responded to the changing societal conditions. In this context, we discuss access to citizenship and naturalization as this is understood in the Greek context and the political challenges that have arisen from the past two decades of immigration of co-ethnic returnees and third country nationals. In the following sections we explore the ways in which the mainstream political parties have responded to these political challenges. It is argued that for electoral purposes they have attempted to reach out to the (naturalized) co-ethnic communities in the first instance, and in recent years the normative debate has been moving towards the need to integrate and accommodate the political entitlements of third country nationals legally residing in Greece. We also explore the positions and claims of representatives of co-ethnic and immigrant associations; the priorities that they have set as necessary requirements and entitlements for their integration in the host society; and their perceptions of the political challenges they face in the society they reside in. 5.1.1 Research methods and methodology This paper is based on a literature review of the current migration literature in Greece on immigrant integration, naturalization and the ensuing political rights. The literature on the subject of political representation and participation is scarce as most research has thus far concentrated on the social, economic and civic aspects of immigrant integration. In addition, we have conducted a web-based researched on articles in the press and on popular Greek web-portals and blogs. Here too the information gathered is rather limited. Articles on immigrants’ political rights and on the future extension of voting rights to third country nationals for local and regional elections have been published mainly in pre-election periods (local elections in 2006, national elections and party conventions in 2007); on the occasion of the revised law in 2005 that however did not include any provisions regarding political participation and representation; and recently again (2008) associated with the increase in naturalizations presented by the Ministry of the Interior. The data collected was complemented by a number of interviews with representatives of the main political parties, and two focus groups with representatives of co-ethnic and immigrant associations, and immigrant activists in Athens. A list of all interviewees and details about the participants in the focus groups is provided in annex at the end of this chapter. An interview guide (see below) was used to structure the course of the interview but the questions were open-ended and tailored to the specific field of expertise of each interviewee.
Table 9. Interview Guide
Questions directed to representatives of the main Greek political parties Concerning the participation of co-ethnic returnees from the former Soviet republics in Greece’s political sphere: - Has your party concentrated on the particular needs of this population group? In what ways? - Are there members of this population group who are active in the party structures? - What strategy has your party pursued in order to engage this community in the political dialogue?
Has your party taken specific initiatives to reach out/ co-opt members of this community? I.e. undertaken specific policies to integrate them? To encourage and mobilize their participation in the party? Or publication and dissemination of the party programme in Russian prior to elections, etc?
Concerning the participation of co-ethnic returnees from Albania (Vorioipirotes) in Greece’s political sphere: - Has your party concentrated on the particular needs of this population group? In what ways? - Are there members of this population group who are active in the party structures? - What strategy has your party pursued in order to engage this community in the political dialogue? - Has your party taken specific initiatives to reach out/ co-opt members of this community? I.e. undertaken specific policies to integrate them? To encourage and mobilize their participation in the party? How do you assess the initiatives that have been taken by other political parties in engaging the coethnic communities in their structures? In the electorate? In the political debate? In your opinion, what are the core priorities for immigrant participation in Greek public life? Is the political rights dimension relevant? If so, in what ways? If not, why? What sort of formal or informal relations does your party have with immigrant organizations and associations? In a number of other EU member states, third country nationals have been granted the right to vote (and stand for election) at local elections. - Has this matter been discussed and considered by your party? - At what level? Is there an official party position on the extension of political rights at the local level to third country nationals/ If we assume that there is a trend across most other EU member states towards enfranchising third country nationals, do you consider that this trend will influence the respective debate in Greece on these matters? In what ways? Questions directed to representatives of immigrant organisations In your opinion, what are the priorities for the participation of immigrants in Greece’s public sphere? Does the political dimension constitute a priority? In what ways? For what reasons (yes or no)? What is your opinion regarding the participation of a particular segment of Greece’s immigrant community, the co-ethnic returnees? Have you been in contact with organizations of co-ethnic returnees (either from the former Soviet republics or from Albania) on issues regarding political representation and participation of third country nationals? In your opinion, how important is the acquisition of the right to vote (and stand for elections) at local elections for immigrants living in the country for 3 or 5 years? For what reasons is it, or isn’t it important? What are the principal issues that you consider could be achieved with the political participation of migrants at local elections? What relations do you have with the main political parties? In your opinion, have migrants’ political rights been a matter of concern for Greek political parties? How do you assess the initiatives that they have/ have not taken on this matter? Have you engaged in a political dialogue with the political parties on these issues? Questions directed to representatives of co-ethnic migrant organizations
In your opinion, what are the core priorities for immigrant participation in Greek public life? Is the political rights dimension relevant? If so, in what ways? If not, why? In what ways and to what extent do you participate in Greece’s political sphere? Independently? Informally? Formally connected with a political party? Which one? What relations do you have with the main political parties? In your opinion, have migrants’ political rights been a matter of concern for Greek political parties? How do you assess the initiatives that they have/ have not taken on this matter? Have you engaged in a political dialogue with the political parties on these issues? Have you been in contact with other immigrant organizations in order to promote issues regarding the political representation and participation of third country nationals? In your opinion, how important is the acquisition of the right to vote (and stand for elections) at local elections for co-ethnic returnees from Albania living in the country for 3 or 5 years (regardless of whether they have been naturalized or not)? For what reasons is it, or isn’t it important? What are the principal issues that you consider could be achieved with the political participation of migrants at local elections? In your opinion, should the right to vote (and stand for elections) at local elections be granted to all immigrants living in the country for 3 or 5 years?
5.1.2 Political participation of third country nationals: an overview of the conceptual arguments for and against The normative arguments that have been put forward in favour or in opposition to the extension of political participation rights to migrants in their host society are explored in this section. These arguments have been debated rather widely over the past decade in particular during which the migration phenomenon has become truly globalised and during which migration has increased, become more diverse and has become a significant reality in all EU countries. Both sets of arguments are relevant in the Greek case as will be discussed further on. What is frequently termed as ‘alien suffrage’ is supported by the cosmopolitan perspective of democracy and of civic inclusion, which sees political participation as a fundamental right to be exercised in a liberal, constitutionally-based polity. At the opposite end is the statist approach to political participation where national boundaries demarcate the rights that can or cannot be exercised; national citizenship is thus preferred over civic redefinitions of citizenship. But let us briefly explore each in turn. Cosmopolitan democracy has been put forward as a political project aiming to engender greater public accountability in the ways in which the world is changing due to globalization pressures. Globalisation has placed new constraints on democratic norms thus requiring their renewal both in the way democracy is exercised and defined within states and in the global community (Archibugi, Held and Hohler 1998). Cosmopolitan democracy questions what is considered the traditional approach to democratic theory and practice by arguing that when:
“socioeconomic processes and the outcomes of decisions about them, stretch beyond national frontiers, then the implications of this are serious, not only for the categories of consent and legitimacy but for all the key ideas of democracy. At issue is the nature of a constituency, the role of representation, and the proper form and scope of political participation.” (Archibugi, Held and Hohler 1998: 22). Thus, it is posited that political practices and institutions need to adapt to the changing realities in order for modern democracies to continue to be inspired from the core democratic principles of accountability, legitimacy and representation. This may require either the development of new political institutions and practices, and/or the transformation of existing ones by either expanding their membership or by making boundaries between in- and out- members more permeable. Migration and the rapid diversity it has provoked within European societies is one such manifestation of the changes and challenges globalization has placed on European liberal democracies. In response to the changing nature and composition of European constituencies and societies, the debate about entitlements and duties changes also in multi-fold ways. The case in favour of extending political rights to third country nationals concentrates on ‘social membership’ and the right of individuals living in a liberal democratic polity to claim a right to inclusion (Rubio-Marín 2000: 21). In effect, it is contended that with time, people who stay in a society develop moral claims and entitlements and that if they are affected by a series of decisions then though ought to be able to participate in the decision making process. Different approaches have been put forward in this growing field of study. Sassens (1998) has explored the influence of human rights in transforming the interstate system and thereby nation-state citizenship, while Soysal (1994) has examined the transnational dimension and the limits of citizenship. Carens has argued for the moral claims of long term residents and that voting rights may be restricted to nationals only provided that ‘at some point, (ten years at most, probably five), citizenship should be made available upon demand, without any restrictions or requirements’ (2001: 102). And Bauböck (2007) has underlined the universality of basic political liberties, noting however that while political participation in national elections is relevant for citizens, participation in the local political community should be based solely on residency. While the academic and conceptual debate on the changing nature of citizenship, democracy and the moral dimension of how to treat non-nationals is rich and inspiring, as Day and Shaw have concluded: “actual changes in the status of non-national may often owe as much to more mundane domestic political conditions as they do to the force of grand moral ideas about the ethical treatment of foreigners. In other words, if changes are brought about, they may not be because the normative ‘case’ for allocating more rights to non-national by a host polity has in fact prevailed at a domestic level, but for much more potentially venal internal reasons as the maintenance of domestic political coalitions’ (2002: 188). The findings explored in this paper from our empirical research suggest that this practical and pragmatic dimension is just as present in the on-going debate in the case of Greece as the normative debate. Hesitance and scepticism about the extension of political entitlements to nonnationals is primarily based on the belief that citizenship is associated with a sense of
loyalty and belonging to a distinct or demarcated community, and multiple or transnational loyalties are questioned.31 The argument against extending voting rights to non-citizens is based on a republican approach to the polity. From this perspective, if a person wants to participate in the political system of his or her place of residence then the first step should be to apply and gain citizenship and learn and understand the host society’s political culture, and then once formally a member of the in-group, voting rights are granted automatically. In this sense, the interest and will to take part in the political process might also serve as an incentive for naturalization and essentially complete the integration process. Within the European Union there has been a trend towards extending political rights to non-nationals. This has been to a large extent achieved through the development of the concept of European citizenship leading to the present situation where all EU nationals can participate in European and local elections in the EU member state in which they are residing. At the same time, many member states have moved to extending voting rights at the local level to long-term legal residents recognizing the entitlements and duties that are associated with residence. Equality and fair treatment principles as well as the recognition of participation as a vehicle towards further integration and as away to combat marginalisation throughout European societies have been the driving forces behind this trend. The rationale is that people living, working, contributing to the social security system, paying taxes, participating in the economy and the labour market and having their children attend the education system of the receiving society means that they are affected by decisions taken in these areas and that they have a stake. Being able to participate in the decision-making process and enabling them to defend their interests as members of this community at the local level is thus considered important for social cohesion, equal opportunities and democracy. At present, as is indicated in the table below, there exists a very varied patchwork across the EU with different levels of political participation being made available to TCN depending both on the country of residence, but also on their country of origin (see Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2007). Table 10. Voting rights for third-country nationals in EU-member states
Political rights No local voting rights Granting of voting rights but not of the right to stand as candidate Full voting rights at the local level conditional to the fulfilment of special requirements (such as principle of reciprocity, or citizens from certain counties i.e. belonging to the Commonwealth, etc). Source: Triandafyllidou and Gropas 2007 EU Member States Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Poland Belgium, Estonia Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK
This trend is indicative of the changing boundaries of suffrage and the evolving notion of citizenship and democracy. In the case of Greece, where citizenship is largely understood in its national dimension, the process of
For a presentation of the debate in the US and Germany see Rubio-Marín 2000; for the debate in the EU see Faist 2007 and the works of Bosniak and Zolberg among others.
accommodating and responding to the political aspects of its current demographic diversity is taking place hand in hand with a redefinition of national identity and with an attempt to move towards a civic definition of citizenship. 5.2 Immigration and participation in public life 5. 2.1. Co-ethnic immigration to Greece As already discussed in the previous chapters, Greece has been a reception country for almost two decades and approximately 10% of its population is composed of third country nationals (Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2007). Integration policies mainly in the fields of social security and welfare, housing, health care, and education were launched with a notable delay, and most efforts in the field of migration policy consist of attempts to regularize the large portion of Greece’s immigrant population that continues to exist in conditions of (repeated) irregularity. In fact, the acknowledgment that migrants constitute a permanent reality in Greek society is just as recent. Consequently, while the public debates on the social and economic integration of migrants has been on-going over the past decade, the political dimensions of integration (political representation, voting rights and participation) represent a relatively new, yet steadily growing, trend. A significant portion of migration inflows has consisted of ‘return migration’ of co-ethnic Greeks or immigrants of Greek descent. It is relevant to focus in more depth on this population group because of the preferential conditions that they have benefited from in terms of integration policies and access to citizenship. We have accorded special attention to this group because it is the only portion of the immigrant population in Greece which has been or has started the process of being naturalised and therefore, is the only portion which at present, has access to political rights and participates in the Greek political arena. The main categories of returnees32 who have migrated to Greece in the past two decades consist of: o Co-ethnic returnees, notably the Pontic Greeks, arriving from the former Soviet Republics (and particularly from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Armenia). There are 155,000 Pontic Greeks according to the 2000 Special Census of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad) who have in their vast majority naturalised upon arrival or shortly after; o Immigrants of Greek descent, notably ethnic Greek Albanian citizens (Vorioepirotes). There were 185,000 holders of the Special Identity Cards for CoEthnics (EDTO cards) in 2007. Of those approximately 150,000 were eligible to apply for citizenship, after the change in the Greek government policy on this matter in November 2006, since they had lived in the country for ten years or more; and
There have been a number of waves of return migration (επαναπατρισµός οµογενών και παλιννόστηση) during the twentieth century: the first consists of a refugee wave of individuals of Greek descent during the Balkan wars and the First World War; followed by a wave of 1.2-1.5 million refugees from Asia Minor in 1922; and around 400,000 individuals of Greek descent migrated to Greece during the de-colonisation period, principally from Egypt, Syria, Sudan, and the Congo, as well as from Romania, Turkey and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. Following the oil crises in the 1970s and a tightening of migration policies in western Europe, there was also a return migration of Greeks who had migrated to Germany as guest workers after World War II (see Emke-Poulopoulou 2007, 99-101).
o a smaller number of returning Greek migrants from northern Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. The remaining consists of immigrants from other EU countries (Bulgaria, Romania and Poland), non EU European countries (Georgia, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine), from the Middle East and north Africa (especially Egyptians and Palestinians) and growing numbers of immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries, Southeast Asia (especially Pakistan and Bangladesh) and China (see Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2007 for details). 5.2.2. Participation in Public Life Although this paper is concerned with the political rather than the civic participation of immigrants in public life in Greece, it is relevant to note that immigrant participation in public life has been hampered and affected by the longstanding undocumented or insecure status of most immigrants due to delayed and incomplete regularisation policies and efforts on the part of the public authorities. Until the early 2000s, the institutional and legal framework of migration in Greece provided immigrants with very limited opportunities to participate in public life and to be civically active. Trade unions have, to a certain extent, encouraged immigrant workers’ membership (for instance in the construction sector) and have supported regularisation and other initiatives aimed at encouraging formal employment conditions for migrant workers. The motives have been largely pragmatic as the underlying aim has been to regularise migrant workers in order to also secure native member’s rights and to avoid unlawful competition from immigrants accepting work for lower pay and without welfare benefits. While trade unions have contributed to including migrants in civic engagement, this is still in its early phases as leading trade union positions are held exclusively by Greeks. Over the past 6-8 years, however, the civil society landscape in Greece has changed quite substantially. Immigrant, cultural and sports associations, women’s associations, trade unions and other professional organisations, networks of associations of immigrant and mainstream human rights NGOs, or NGOs active in the protection of refugee and asylum seeker rights, anti-discrimination, or the fight against racism and xenophobia have created a rich, active, and increasingly vocal civil society. This has benefited greatly from EU sources of funding (such as EQUAL and INTERREG) and has been a fundamental actor in raising awareness among the public and the media on immigrant integration, multi-culturalism and programmes combating, discrimination, racism and xenophobia. This growth and increased activity among the migrant population has developed in parallel to a phase of maturation of Greek civil society as well and these two parallel processes have fed into one another and in many cases strengthened on another too – particularly in the human rights and anti-discrimination field (Gropas and Triandafyllidou 2007). There has been a sort of consolidation of migrant participation in the civic sphere, while in the political sphere participation remains limited both in scope and in numbers. A review of the current situation in Greece suggests that migrants who participate in the political realm can be broadly categorised in the following three groups:
Individuals who take on an active role in the political sphere and who are primarily involved in advocacy initiatives on issues concerning developments in their country of origin or in another region with which there is a political, religious or cultural affinity. For instance, this is usually expressed in demonstrations and picketing or public awareness campaigns regarding developments in the Middle East, or the war in Iraq, or human rights in Tibet. Individuals who are political activists, these tend to be longer-term residents (mainly those who immigrated to Greece in the 1980s or in the 1990s), who are connected to Greek political parties based on ideological affiliations. Co-ethnic Greeks or their descendents who have migrated to Greece, who naturalised soon after arrival and were able to become politically active since citizenship acquisition formally included them in the polity. Thus, since the only formal type of political participation is possible through naturalisation, it is pertinent to consider the naturalisation policies in Greece. 5.2.3. Naturalisation Integration through naturalisation is not an easy option since Greek nationality is based on the jus sanguinis principle and the naturalisation procedure is long and costly. Law 2130/1993 states that immigrants who wish to become Greek citizens have to be residents in Greece for more than ten years in the last twelve (previously the requirement was for eight years in the last twelve). This continues to be one of the longest residence requirements for naturalisation – together with Swiss legislation – in Europe.33 Citizenship test requirements, similar to all other European countries are based on sufficient knowledge of the Greek history, language and civilization. Law 2910/2001 (articles 58-64) made the conditions and procedure even more cumbersome: a high fee is to be paid by the applicant (1,500 Euro) and the decision is discretionary. Furthermore, authorities are not required to reply within a specified period of time and need not justify a negative decision to the applicant.34 If an applicant is rejected, s/he may apply again after one year. The only special provisions stipulated in the relevant legislation involve co-ethnics. The naturalization procedure for immigrants of Greek descent is much simpler and less time consuming. Specifically, the repatriates from the former Soviet Union who settled in Greece mostly during the 1990s obtained the Greek citizenship with summery procedures very soon after their arrival. This was not the case however for ethnic Greek Albanians who migrated to Greece during the same period (see also Triandafyllidou and Veikou 2002), who were granted special long-term residence permits instead.
Many European countries request five years of residence before applying (United Kingdom or France, for instance), while the more restrictive ones require eight (Germany) or ten years (Italy). It is also worth noting that trends differ. More restrictive countries moved towards more liberal regimes of naturalisation (e.g. Germany with the 2000 citizenship law) while more liberal ones, like France, adopted more stringent legislation (citizenship law of 1993). 34 A special circular of the Home Affairs Ministry (Circular 32089/10641/26.5.1993) states that such obligations are not valid when the matters treated refer to the acquisition, recognition, loss or reacquisition of the Greek nationality, rendering thus the whole issue truly exceptional and outside the normal work proceedings of state administration.
These articles (58-64) of the law have been subject to criticism by NGOs, the liberal press35 and international organisations (ECRI 2004) for being discriminatory and unfair.36 ECRI in particular has raised concerns regarding the preferential path to citizenship available to individuals of Greek origin, noting that there are subjective elements in the assessment of such origin, making the applicants liable to discrimination. Also, ECRI (2004, paragraph 64) notes that such distinctions between presumed co-ethnics and others create uncertainty among the latter and false expectations among the former with regard to the kind of rights and/or treatment that they are entitled to. Between 1980 and 2003, 66% of the foreign citizens who obtained Greek citizenship were of Greek descent and 34% where of foreign ethnicity. The numbers altered after 1997, when the numbers of co-ethnics granted Greek citizenship started becoming smaller than those of non co-ethnics (Pavlou, 2004). In November 2006, a joint decision by the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs facilitated the naturalisation procedure for ethnic Greek Albanian citizens waiving the fee and the discretionary character of the judgment. The joint decision stipulated that holders of a Special Co-Ethnic’s Identity Card (commonly referred to with their initials EDTO) could be naturalized upon fulfilling the requirements provided in the law without paying the special fee. Basically the decision was not to exercise negative discretion on the applications but rather confer citizenship to all those who fulfilled the legal requirements. As a result, in 2007, the first year after the ministerial decision, the number of EDTO holders who acquired the Greek citizenship was almost a hundred times higher than any previous year (see table below). Table 11. Acquisition of Greek citizenship by EDTO holders (1998-2007)
Number of naturalizations of EDTO holders (per year) 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 36 2004 23 2005 66 2006 68 2007 5,634 56 69 66 58 52 Source: Ministry of Interior, letter dated 13.3.2008
Against this background what becomes clear is that the subject of naturalisation is approached in a rather micro-management manner. Amendments to the naturalisation process are made as rushed corrective measures, and while the official discourse presents current policies as initiatives aimed at furthering integration and as regularisation measures, in effect there is an underlying effort to be as restrictive as possible in extending access to citizenship. In a recent effort to deal with the legal status of the second generation who up to now when turning 18 had to apply for a stay permit for work or study reasons or became irregular immigrants, the Parliament passed a special measure (article 41 par. 7) within Law 3731/08 which provides for the second generation the status of long term EU resident. In other words, a person born in Greece, raised in Greece of 18 years who has attended at least the 9 years of compulsory schooling and whose parents are still residing legally in Greece,
See, Ios tis Kyriakis, Athens daily, Kyriakatiki Eleftherotipia, 4 January 2004, www.enet.gr/ and Athens Anglophone daily Athens News, 7 January 2004, Citizenship backlog, by Kathy Tzilivakis, www.athensnews.gr . Also Greek Helsinki Monitor at www.greekhelsinki.gr/bhr/english/index.html. 36 Greek authorities are generally required to respond within specified time limits to applicants addressed to them and to provide justification for their decisions.
can apply, upon turning 18 for a long term EU resident status without having to go through the integration test (language and history test) foreseen for this status. They also still have to pay the relevant application fee. Thus, the Greek state turns the second generation to disenfranchised long term residents instead of making of them new Greek citizens. This is indeed one of the most rigid and exclusionary provisions for the second generation that exist throughout the EU and has been heavily criticised by opposition parties and migrant associations. Nonetheless, it remains a fact that the Greek states show extreme reticence to include the ius soli principle in its citizenship definition. The above mentioned provision for the second generation is justified by the Ministry of Interior as an encouragement (sic) to apply for citizenship. The argument is that this long term resident status gives security of residence and equal socioeconomic rights. The second generation has then to apply for citizenship acquisition just like anybody else, if they wish to do so. The idea is thus that law 3731/08 provides the children of immigrants the opportunity to chose and does not impose Greek citizenship upon them. Naturally there are clearly other measures, as those applied in France or Germany or Italy that would allow for the children of immigrants to chose which citizenship they want, but which would also give them the straightforward option of becoming citizens by a simple declaration of will. 5.3. Political representation and party politics 5.3.1. Political rights: who has what? The right to vote and stand for elections is restricted to Greek citizens above the age of eighteen. Only EU citizens may participate in local and European Parliament elections (based on EC Council Directive 94/80). All other third country national who are legal residents do not have access to political rights. Thus, extending these rights to third country nationals in local or regional elections requires a Constitutional reform. There are two separate issues that arise. The first concerns extending full political rights to individuals legally residing in the country through citizenship, i.e. through naturalisation. The number of naturalisations remains extremely low (see table below), and by common account the process is long, costly and what is most disconcerting, not transparent. However, given that there are growing numbers of immigrants who have now fulfilled, or will soon be fulfilling, the legal requirements to apply for citizenship (ten years of legal residence, language fluency, etc) we may expect that the number of naturalisations will increase in the following years. Naturally this remains to be seen in practice since up to now the Greek state policy has been one of naturalising only co-ethnics and even those with restrictions. However, the claims and expectations of new and future citizens will have to be taken into consideration by the mainstream political parties and/or may lead to the creation of ethnic parties. In fact, since the 2000 elections we can discern a clear shift in the strategies mainly of the two larger parties who have been slowly, yet steadily, proactively reaching out - initially to the co-ethnic returnee communities and increasingly to the wider immigrant population.
Table 12: Citizenship acquisition by third country nationals in Greece (20002008)
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009
Source: Ministry of Interior, waiting for data
The second dimension concerns extending a restricted set of political rights to TCN, or at the very least creating conditions that permit, facilitate and even encourage a degree of representation and participation in the political sphere. This ranges between extending voting rights associated with local and regional elections to third country nationals who hold the indefinite duration residence cards (see table below), to establishing consultation committees which include immigrant representatives in city councils and prefectures. Table 10. Residence Cards of Indefinite Duration (2005-2008) [data from Ministry of Interior to be inserted here] In the next section we present how these two dimensions have been approached by the main political parties. 5.3.2. The positions of the main political parties We can discern two main changes in the Greek political system relating to the need to accommodate and respond to migration-related diversity: The first covers the period from the late 1990s until about 2004 and is principally related to the political system reaching out to the ‘new’ voting population of the naturalised co-ethnic returnees and their descendants who had migrated to Greece from the former Soviet republics. The second can be discerned after 2004 and is marked by a growing debate on integration policies for Greece’s immigrant population, the extension of naturalisation policies and the question of extending voting rights to TCN in local elections. In effect, debates on the political participation of third country nationals are a recent development within political parties and have only timidly begun to appear in the public sphere. Interviews conducted with representatives of political parties have confirmed that the discussion on the need to respond to the political challenges arising from migration have intensified in the past four to five years. Both phases are influenced by a combination of instrumental considerations, the need to respond to real changes through pragmatic measures and normative deliberations. With regard to the first phase, as mentioned above, approximately 150,000 160,000 co-ethnic Greeks and their families returned to Greece in a number of waves after the demise of the Soviet Union during the 1990s. This population benefited from 93
a positive return policy from Greece and was almost immediately naturalised. The PASOK party that was in government at the time put into place a number of measures to facilitate their integration in the Greek labour market37 and society by offering privileged housing loans and licenses for stalls in local open air markets, kiosques and taxis. Access to such permits are considered normal small favours that MPs or local politicians concede to their voters through personalised and clientelistic networks of patronage. Thus, while such measures aimed to promote the employment of the Pontic Greeks (as the returning co-ethnics from the former Soviet Union are commonly called) and to help their socio-economic integration in Greek society, they also placed them from the very beginning in the hear of the Greek clientelistic political system. In parallel to that, there were efforts to symbolically recognise their cultural capital by supporting Pontic-Greek cultural associations both financially and through media coverage and political patronage (I2, 16 February 2009; FG2 17 March 2009). PASOK being in government and therefore responsible for these measures was able to ‘reap’ the benefits also in electoral terms and in effect in the 2000 national elections the co-ethnic electorate population overwhelmingly voted for PASOK (I2, 16 February 2009; I4, 17 March 2009). The dominant normative discourse during this period was that co-ethnic Greeks were returning to their ‘motherland’ and were inherently members of the polity and demos. Rapid naturalisation was based on the ius sanguinis principle and actually went through the so-called process of ‘citizenship confirmation’ (διαπίστωση) which implied that these people had Greek citizenship by right because of their Greek descent and that the Greek state came only to ratify and confirm the existence of this citizenship. Measures promoting their socio-economic and political integration were promoted by the Greek government as a service ‘owed’ to them because they had endured persecution and exile for their Greekness during the Stalin years in particular. Their integration was also seen in fully patriotic terms as an opportunity for the Greek state to reinforce demographically the Greek element in the northeastern region of Western Thrace where the Muslim Turkish minority lives (see also Triandafyllidou and Veikou, 2002). Thus, here again, Pontic Greeks were from the very beginning enmeshed in the politics of Greek nationalism, asked to settle in Thrace in exchange of housing and employment assistance. Many Pontic Greeks though did not stay in the region and rather preferred to settle in Athens and other areas where they had friends or distant relatives and/or where they could find employment more easily (Triandafyllidou 2001; Maroufof 2006). In short, while Pontic Greeks were provided with a range of services supporting their social and economic integration into Greek society, they also found themselves very quickly enmeshed in the web of Greek clientelistic and nationalist politics – following a rationale that had more to do with the presumed ‘national interest’ rather than with a realistic socio-economic planning for their integration. During this period there was essentially no discussion about measures promoting the integration of TCNs; though migration inflows were steadily increasing, migrants were considered – across the political spectrum – as a temporary phenomenon and basically a temporary and economically beneficial labour force. Moreover, given that public opinion was not particularly in favour of this migration influx, in politically instrumental terms there was no motive for any of the large
For a detailed discussion of the Pontic Greeks arrival and socio-economic integration in Greek society, see Kassimati 1993, 1993; Vergeti 1991, 1994, 1998) among others.
political parties to campaign strongly in favour of more holistic and extensive migrant integration policies (I2, 16 February 2009). The 2004 election was an opportunity for New Democracy to tap into the electoral potential of this new voting population. In the run up to the national elections, New Democracy was active in reaching out and establishing formal links with the (older and newer) co-ethnic cultural associations that the Pontic Greeks had established. A Secretariat for Co-Ethnic Organisations became active in developing relations the co-ethnic association and the party structures and more extensive integration measures were promised (for instance, additional housing loans and access to housing facilities; additional market permits; quotas for access to employment in the public sector; preferential conditions for compulsory military service and for entrance into higher education, etc). In addition, party pamphlets were printed in Russian and some co-ethnics were encouraged to become party members and stand for election in both municipal and national elections. Accumulated disappointments on the part of the co-ethnic population with the PASOK government that had not fully delivered on its 2000 promises and the apparent possibility to achieve additional economic and political gains from the conservative party led to a shift in votes from PASOK to New Democracy. Estimates hold that up to 60% of this electoral population supported New Democracy thereby contributing to their electoral victory (I4, 17 March 2009; FG2, 17 March 2009). During this first phase which the smaller (in electoral terms) political parties were engaged in the debate in a more detached manner, focusing more on the need to develop migration management policies than on issues relating to the political sphere. The Communist party38 and the Coalition of the Left, referred to migrant and coethnic issues principally from the perspective of class struggle rationale. Party positions underlined solidarity among workers and the need to ensure employment, socio economic rights and free education, while the security challenges raised – particularly in the employment sectors - by irregular and illegal migration waves was a matter of concern (I1, 14 November 2008). 2004 therefore marks the passing into the second phase. With the New Democracy in government39 and PASOK now in opposition,40 the Socialist Party underwent a series of changes as regards leadership, discourse and style. The new leader of PASOK, George Papandreou initiated a shift in the discourse and public sphere about democracy, participation and the changes underway in Greece. The need to increase participatory democracy and politically engage the younger generation in the political debate was prioritised through a number of symbolic measures (referendum-like vote for the party leadership, etc) and through the launch of an online dialogue platform attempting to make PASOK’s positions on core societal issues (social justice, exclusion, participatory democracy, youth integration and migrant integration) more transparent and interactive (see www.pasok.gr). Within PASOK’s more progressive and liberal ranks, and apparently drawing from Papandreou’s personal interest, sensitivities and initiatives, measures encouraging migrant integration were explored and increasingly fed into the public debate through articles in newspapers, on the PASOK website and in the party
The Greek Communist Party received 8% of the national vote in the September 2007 elections and just under 6% in the 2004 election. 39 New Democracy has been in government since 2004 with 45% of the national election, and confirmed for another four-year period in September 2007 with nearly 42%. 40 The Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) has been the main opposition party since 2004 (with 38% of the national vote in September 2004 and 40.5 % in 2007).
convention proceedings (I2, 16 February 2009). Since 2005 the party has instituted three positions in its Central Party Committee that are reserved for migrants. Even though they do not have the right to vote, this initiative provides for a direct representation of migrant groups in the main opposition party mechanism. It also provides a channel for dialogue and exchange in party and other social and political forums. This initiative has been included in the formal network of PASOK’s ‘Friends of the Party’ and though concerns have been raised with regards to the unconstitutional nature of this initiative (since according to the Constitution, political rights may only be exercised by Greek citizens), these have not been noteworthy. Additionally, in February 2008, the Migration Working Group of PASOK’s Secretariat Central Organisation Committee for the Convention (ΚΟΕΣ) announced the party’s positions on migration issues in preparation of the party Convention (http://tm.pasok.gr/anthropina_dikaiomata?cat=330). It is relevant to note that three of the nine members of the Working Group were third country nationals and the Group was chaired by the Secretary of the Central Organisation Committee for the party Convention. Among the 20-point programme focusing on cutting red tape while improving regularization and access to social goods and services, priority was accorded to the need to institutionalize the right to vote in local elections for all third country nationals who have been legally residing in Greece for five years. Regarding naturalization, the programme proposed to extend Greek citizenship to all second generation migrants and the automatic acquisition of Greek citizenship for all minors who have been enrolled in Greek schools for three years. This significant pro-immigration shift in the Socialist party policies and practices has been attributed to the personal views of the party leader, George Papandreou, as well as the related views of academics and other prominent figures who have been recruited to the party electoral lists (national and EP) since 2004 (Triandafyllidou, 2009; I2, 16 February 2009). These represent a segment of the Socialist party that holds views favouring immigrant integration and supportive of a fundamental reconsideration of state policies in matters of immigrant political participation. In fact, third country nationals were also invited to take part in the 2007 internal party elections. This initiative was greeted by immigrant activists in the press as a step towards societal inclusion and integration that encompasses the political dimension and as a way through which migrant-related claims were integrated in the political speeches and debates that took place (Ta Nea, 13 November 2007, www.diavatirio.net ). As part of the wider initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue on migrant inclusion, PASOK has also set up a web-based forum. Articles and comments from immigrants in Greece as well as Greek migrants abroad are hosted on this blog expressing positions on the importance of improving migrants’ rights as part of the country’s quality of democracy and respect for human rights. A number of the featured comments concentrate on the importance of politically engaging migrants in the host country’s political sphere as part of a wider effort to re-energise the political arena and broaden democratic participation (http://tm.pasok.gr/anthropina_dikaiomata?cat=330). The tone is framed in left-wing discourse terms based on equality and representing the more vulnerable population groups and migrant are considered as one of the population groups facing insecurity, exclusion, discrimination, and in terms of active political participation as fundamental to the country’s quality of democracy. This web-based discussion that brings together references to human rights, democracy, racism, political participation and migrant inclusion constitutes an effort to raise the awareness of party members or citizens who browse through PASOK’s website. It equally suggests a dynamic in the direction of
expanding the public debate on the political participation of third country nationals in the Greek political sphere. While the pro-immigrant initiatives of the Socialist party stem from a normative position in support of inclusion and social equality, and have undoubtedly contributed to the debate in the public sphere and the recognition of the political dimension of non-citizens’ entitlements, there is also an instrumental and electoral perspective that ought not be disregarded. Support for migrant rights also has a pragmatic and instrumental dimension. It is easier to support these positions when in opposition whereas when in government pragmatic constraints - such as the lack of public support for such measures - would temper these views (I1, I3 and I4). And, it may also be conceived as part of a longer term strategy to encourage political affiliations, loyalty and support from individuals who may in the next few years be naturalized and thus enter the electoral pool. In effect it was noted that support for the extension of voting rights to TCN can be found among members of both large parties and the smaller parties (with the exception of the LAOS party) inspired by both normative and pragmatic considerations in all cases. The discourse on the need to encourage measures that will promote social inclusion and participation and a more inclusive democracy is framed in terms of fairness and equity; as a reasonable development given that migration is no longer a temporary, transit phenomenon, but a long-term, permanent reality and therefore raises other sorts of entitlements, expectations and obligations both on the part of the migrants and the polity; as part of Greece’s ‘catching up’ in the field of migration policy; as part of the general effort and trend in the direction of increased political participation on non-citizens across the EU; as a consequence of globalization. This discourse is certainly present among the political elites and in public statements but this does not necessarily translate into support for TCN political participation across and within the various political parties. As we have argued in an earlier study (Gropas and Triandafyllidou, 2005) there is an increasing trend towards informally including immigrants in the political sphere. However, while in other countries this has taken place through consultative institutions (e.g. migrant local councillors without the right to vote, elections for regional migration committees, institutionalised forums of dialogue, migrant participation in leading positions in trade unions or NGOs) in Greece this trend has to date taken place more through links with individual politicians and less through the participation of immigrants as observers in party conventions and party working groups. In effect, over the past decade, a number of parliamentarians included immigrants in their office team of experts and associates, while all main political parties developed extensive networks and informal links with co-ethnic (mainly) and immigrant associations (increasingly) (FG1). Such networks conform to the prevailing political culture in Greece marked by what Edward C. Banfield has described as ‘amoral familism’41 rather than by notions of civic citizenship. The 2006 local elections provided the platform for a growing public debate on the political integration and representation of Greece’s immigrant population. Thus, all political parties have been called to address the two main political challenges resulting from the past two decades of immigration, namely whether and what sort of
‘Amoral familism’ was used in relation to social action that is persistently oriented to the economic interests of the nuclear family. The term was coined in what was at the time a rather controversial account of poverty in a village in southern Italy by Edward C. Banfield (1958) in The Moral Basis of a Backward Society.
political rights should be extended to legal residents? and, how do they respond and ‘tap in’ to the claims and expectations of Greece’s new (and future) citizens? In principle, there seems to be a general consensus on favour or extending voting rights to non-citizens for local elections. The governing New Democracy Party has committed itself to extend the right to vote in the forthcoming local elections (to be held in 2010) to all immigrants who will be accorded the ‘long-term residency’ permit (www.in.gr, 20/10/2006, Eleftherotypia, 06/10/2008). This is supported by PASOK and by the Coalition of the Left (SYNASPISMOS) for migrants who have been legally residing in the country for five years (I1, 14 November 2008). The Coalition of the Left42 has been publicly supporting the extension of political rights to migrants since 2005 (www.syn.gr). It has been critical however of the government proposal to extend these political rights to immigrants holding the long-term residency permit which is currently (early 2009) being debated. The criticism is twofold in that it is perceived as insufficiently inclusive and as potentially indifferent to the core political aim which is to expand the democratic base. Given that the criteria and requirements for the new long-term residency permit, are considered blurry and non-transparent, it is not at present clear what percentage of the immigrant population will be able to meet the requirements for this permit. Thus, granting political rights only to holders of the long-term residency permit means that essentially the vast majority of the actual immigrant population (which will not be able to acquire this permit) will be indirectly excluded from political participation (I1, 14 November 2008). In the interim, and as a minimum, the establishment of consultation committees including migrants at the level of the city council or the prefecture was noted by representatives of the Coalition of the Left and PASOK parties as a constructive and necessary measure towards immigrant participation in Greek public life. The representative of the Coalition of the Left party (I1) underlined that: “Integration goes through the local level of government as this is closest to the people and their needs, and especially to immigrants’ needs. The establishment of local councils within which immigrants will be able to participate and express an opinion about priorities and things that need to be done in the local community where they live in, is necessary for integration. Participation leads people to having a sense of having a stake in the place they live in” (original in Greek, 14 November 2008). The behaviour of all parties in both phases described above is essentially the result of reactive policies and initiatives. Both in the management of the co-ethnic migrant population, and in the present situation where the focus is on regularising and rendering more secure the de facto long-term migrants and addressing the needs of the budding second generation, the responses and proposals are characterised by a certain time-lag and delayed reaction. These translate into a patchwork of corrective measures which aim each time to approach portions of the migrant population more through the means of political clientelism and patronage than through normatively inspired debates and the promotion of notions of civic citizenship and democratic participation. Migration policy continues not to propose an overall forward looking vision of attracting and ‘creating’ new citizens.
Representing 5% of the national vote in the 2007 elections and 3.3% in the previous 2004 elections.
5.3.3. Recent elections and the ‘migrant’ factor Katz has argued that ‘elections are the defining institutions of modern democracy’ (1997: 1). From this perspective, we argue that two elections essentially brought the ‘migrant’ factor into the political scene. First, as explained above, the 2000 national elections in Greece underlined the importance of the co-ethnic vote. The implications were two-fold. On the one hand, the 2000 national elections experience has since determined the strategies that were drawn up by Greek political parties to represent the claims of the co-ethnic Greeks who had naturalised and who therefore constituted a significant electoral pool for these parties to tap into (approximately 200,000 individuals). On the other, it also determined the strategies of the co-ethnic associations and organisations in promoting their claims and demands through lobbying the two largest political parties. These trends were underlined by the electoral shift in the March 2004 elections. Disgruntled by the ruling PASOK party that had promised yet not delivered on the claims of the co-ethnic population, they shifted their electoral support to the New Democracy party that won the elections. According to electoral analyses, the co-ethnic vote was a significant determinant in New Democracy’s electoral victory in 2004 and again in 2007 (I4, 17 March 2009). Second, the 2006 local elections effectively opened the debate on the integration of immigrants in the political arena. The potential importance of the immigrant vote and the implications for the political sphere of migration that had thus far been considered only in its economic, labour and societal dimensions entered the public debate. During the 2006 local elections, the developments in the electoral race in the city of Athens that attracted notable media attention and was best represented by the case of Yvette Jarvis, an African-American artist living in Greece since the 1980s. Ms. Jarvis was member of PASOK’s National Council and a city counsellor, who decided to run instead with the candidate of the Conservative party New Democracy in the local elections. The New Democracy candidate for the Mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, offered Ms. Jarvis a position of Deputy Mayor of the city of Athens and responsibility for the Citizens’ Service Centre for Migrants43 along with a plan to increase the city of Athens’ services to its immigrant residents and respond to their needs. In response, the PASOK candidate (Costas Skandalides) declared an even more ambitious programme focusing on Athens’ immigrant population and included two female representatives of the immigrant community in his electoral list. One of the candidates for the city council was an economist from Ukraine and head of the Greek-Ukrainian-Russian Association, and the other was an immigrant of Greek descent born in Nagorno-Karabakh and vice-President of the Association for the “Friendship of Greeks and immigrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union” that represents Russian, Pontics, Armenian and Ukrainian immigrants in Athens (To Vima, 20/08/2006). All parties concentrated on the need to urgently respond to immigrants’ living conditions and difficulties faced by immigrant workers and children in Greece. Concomitantly, the discussion concentrated on the current and future electoral importance of the co-ethnic and immigrant community, particularly in the Athens metropolitan area where the immigrant population is estimated at approximately 20%. As a growing percentage of this population is meeting the time requirement (ten years
Κέντρο Εξυπηρέτησης Πολιτών (ΚΕΠ) των µεταναστών.
of legal residence) for acquiring the indefinite stay permits and also for applying for naturalisation, it constitutes an electoral population in the making. Similarly, in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and in other large cities (Heraklion in Crete, Larissa in central Greece, Kozani in the north) the candidates running for office in the city councils and the prefectures concentrated on immigrant matters and engaged in debates with the local immigrant associations to include representatives in their electoral lists. Our informants from different parties, confirmed that a proactive effort was made to nominate naturalised co-ethnics or include them in the electoral lists, particularly in municipalities with large co-ethnic populations (I1, I2, I3, I4), and that this had been a successful electoral strategy. 5.3.4. How newer and future citizens affect the political sphere There is yet no publicly available survey on co-ethnic electoral trends in Greece, neither regarding voter turn-out nor voting behaviour and how this translates into party support and political affiliations. What our first findings in the research undertaken in the context of this project lead us to suggest is the following. The party that was in power when the overwhelming majority of the co-ethnic population migrated to Greece, was able to benefit in electoral terms from the management of the naturalisation and integration policy that it developed in response to this arrival. The relationships between the co-ethnic associations and the Socialist party during this period were based on practical gains for both sides. They were also nurtured by a normative-nationalist discourse of returnee-mythology (the return of the dispersed Hellenism to its motherland). It goes beyond the scope of this paper to analyse this debates and its symbolic underpinnings, it suffices though to note that the Socialist party was the first to allow for Greek political refugees of the civil war era (19461948) who had found refuge in Central Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union to return to Greece. It thus signalled the re-unification of the nation and the forgetting of old political rifts between Left and Right that had marked the post war political life until the 1970s. In line with this tradition, the Socialist party adopted a welcoming policy towards the Pontic Greeks who started fleeing Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan as the Communist regime relaxed because they feared ethnic persecution during the process of nation (re-)building in the area. Despite their early support for the party that they perceived as having protected their rights most, the Pontic Greeks proved to be rather mobile in the 2004 elections when the conservative party was able to attract a majority vote principally thanks to the advantageous measures that were promised to co-ethnics during the campaigning. The role however of networks of political patronage and clientelism in this relationship should not be underestimated: during those years the New Democracy party had proactively supported co-ethnic cultural and sports associations in the period 2000 – 20004. Interestingly, voting behaviours of the naturalised coethnics so far suggests a preference for one of the two main political parties (the conservative New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK) rather than for the smaller parties of the left or right. This can be explained by their preference to be associated with either of the two governing parties as their vote could be leveraged to acquire specific gains that would facilitate their integration in the local economy and society and improve their living conditions (see also I1). A matter to be explored with future research in this context would be whether how this naturalised population (that has benefited from support policies by both
governing parties) and its second generation (that is coming into the voting population), will behave in electoral terms henceforward. A hypothesis to be tested is whether now that the co-ethnic population demonstrates high levels of integration in social, economic, and civic terms, their voting will ‘spread’ out among the political parties. Will the ‘normalisation’ of their socio-economic situation translate into voting behaviours similar to those of the native population which combine ideological considerations with personal interest based on the clientelistic network that they may have access to? Or will the co-ethnic population retain a feature of community voting and community networking and political patronage? In this context, it will be interesting to explore how the socio-economic characteristics of this population will affect the ideological dimension and consequently their electoral choices. For instance, given that this population is composed of a working / middle class, selfemployed professions and a small percentage of public sector employees, will this translate into an ideological affiliation for the left of centre parties influenced by a class-struggle perspective? And how might the political capital/experiences from the Soviet Union legacy affect this? Or, alternatively, might the ideological affiliation draw from a different set of values and specifically from more conservative social norms and a nationalist inclination as this population tends to be characterised by strong attachment to family and community values, and a concern to protect the perceived homogeneity of Greek national identity from ‘other’ migration-related diversity? With regard to non-citizens and the way they may shape and influence electoral politics, here too there are two dimensions to consider. First, in the case legislation permitting TCN to vote at local elections is passed, then the question at hand is what factors will affect how the non-citizen vote will be allocated across the political scene? It will be interesting to explore whether the political parties will adopt similar strategies to those used to attract the co-ethnic voting population and whether the non-citizen electoral population will instrumentalise their vote in order to achieve specific socio-economic benefits and improvements? Networks and relationships between immigrant associations and political parties are already well established providing the framework for an electoral relationship to be built. Second, as more non-citizens become eligible to apply for naturalisation, the question will be whether the political system will choose to boost the participation of new groups into the polity and the democratic process and tap into this new electorate? Much research into the voting patterns and behaviour of immigrant and co-ethnic populations has already been conducted in other, older host societies and findings suggest that measures that increase the naturalisation rates of immigrants engender higher levels of electoral participation (see Citrin and Highton 2002 for example). While there is much room here for policy innovation and democratic regeneration, it is likely that this will be an incremental process for a number of reasons. The first aspect concerns the particular characteristics of the migration demographics in Greece. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the migrant population is from neighbouring countries with which there is a long and often tumultuous history of population movements, and more than 50% come from one single neighbouring country (Albania), poses a particular set of challenges regarding national identity, perceptions of difference and concerns for potential long term crossborder political implications (I3, I4 and FG2). The second set of factors likely to influence policies and initiatives that may encourage or discourage naturalisation of TCN has to do with exogenous conditions and more specifically, future migration
trends and the direction migrant integration and multiculturalism policies will take across Europe. 5.4. Concluding remarks and policy recommendations In today’s diverse societies strengthening the civic identity of its constitutive members is necessary for multicultural societies that are socially cohesive and tolerant. Political participation and representation are necessary for residents and citizens to have a stake in the community in which they live. It adds the dimensions of responsibility and obligation to that of rights and this is important for the quality of a society’s democracy and development. Greece has matured as a host society meaning that the scope of the diversity that characterizes its new population, the length of their stay and their active participation in the country’s social, economic and cultural life has implications in the political sphere. It has implications for the mainstream political parties that are being called to respond to and integrate the claims of this sizeable and growing new population. It has implications for the migrants who are being called to express their views and positions on issues that affect their everyday life in their society of residence and who will have to express their preferences in the political arena based on ideological and instrumental motivations. Our study however suggests that the patterns of political affiliation, participation and patronage that we witness among co-ethnic returnees as well as among TCNs conform largely with the dominant political culture in Greece. It is thus not only native Greeks but also immigrant residents who have been socialized, for different reasons, into political systems that privileged clientelistic patronage and amoral familism. In this sense, immigrants from the former Communist countries in particular are a perfect match to the clientelistic and personalized networks of Greek party support. Having said this, there is room and opportunity at present to strengthen civic citizenship in Greece among migrants and natives alike. This can be pursued through encouraging civic classes on constitutional values, democratic governance and human rights for all population groups within Greece. Targeted measures should concentrate on secondary education in order to educate the next generation on civic values; on classes for adult migrants who wish to apply for naturalization; on specific classes for language learning and incentives to motivate attendance of civic education classes for migrant women in particular should also be developed; and wider public information campaigns reaching out to different segments of the native population should also be developed. The institutional and informal links that have been created through immigrant associations and political parties also offer a platform through which to mobilize civic and political activism and integrate non-citizens, naturalized citizens and natives. This mobilization will contribute to renewing the political debate, expanding the scope and breadth of political participation and enhance the inclusive nature of the democratic process and quality of democracy. In this light, it may be relevant for political parties to consider setting up consultative councils that include non-citizens in order to encourage an input into the policy and political debate. Finally, with a view to enriching the state of democracy in a dynamic society that has already undergone substantial transformation and which is in the process of acquiring a second generation, measures should be considered that:
facilitate access to citizenship; grant the right to vote at local and regional elections initially to citizens of the Council of Europe member states who are lawful residents for five consecutive years, and subsequently to all lawful residents irrespective of their country of origin; contribute to the establishment of consultative councils at the local and regional levels that include long-term residents; and concentrate on removing red-tape and other impediments placed on applications for long-tern residence status.
Annex I to Chapter 5: List of interviews Interview 1 (I1), Member of the Coalition of the Left (SYNASPISMOS party), Responsible for Human Rights Issues and also civil servant with the Ministry of the Interior previously responsible for citizenship issues regarding co-ethnic returnees. Interview conducted at ELIAMEP in Athens on 13 November 2008. Female. Interview 2 (I2), Member of the PASOK party, Member of the European Parliament and Member of the PASOK Political Affairs Committee active in the field of human rights, migration and integration issues. Interview conducted at her office in Athens, 16 February 2009. Female. Interview 3 (I3), Member of the New Democracy Party, Vice-President of the Hellenic Parliament previously responsible for coordinating the InterParliamentary Committee on Migration Policy in 2006. Interview conducted at the Hellenic Parliament premises in Athens, 18 February 2009. Female. Interview 4 (I4), Member of the New Democracy Party, Secretary Responsible for Relations with Co-Ethnic Associations. Interview conducted at the Hellenic Parliament premises in Athens, 17 March 2009. Female. Focus Group 1 (FG1), Discussion with three representatives of migrant associations: Male representative of the Migrant Forum (umbrella organization bringing together various migrant associations in Greece), male representative of the Pakistani community and female representative of the Albanian community, Discussion at ELIAMEP, 26 January 2009. Focus Group 2 (FG2), Discussion with two representatives of a Pontiac-Greek Cultural Association: male president of the association and female secretary of the association, both naturalized co-ethnics. Interview conducted at the offices of the Association, Kallithea, Athens, 17 March 2009.
CHAPTER 6 Conclusion: Addressing Diversity in Greece today
6.1 Nation, Migration and Diversity in the European Context Modern Greece is marked by contrasting tendencies as regards the country’s geopolitical and civilisational positioning. Greece’s history, its national politics and its society have been determined by this fundamental ambivalence between Hellenism and Romiosyne, between the ancient Greek legacy and the Byzantine and Ottoman realities under which the Greek peninsula had lived for many centuries. Enlightenment philosophers re-invented Greek identity by drawing on a sense of continuity with classical Greece as the craddle of European modernity, and during the course of the twentieth century, Greece pursued its modernisation project through increasingly opening to western influences. Modern Greek national identity is based on a difficult blend of classical hellenism, the Byzantine tradition and Eastern Orthodox heritage, within a Western geopolitical environment and a free market economy. The centrifugal tendencies that characterise these elements and their competing claims to universalism make of Greek national identity a contested one. A contested identity is often a strong identity because through contestation, negotiation and change, identities maintain their vitality and meaning for group members. Although Greece has been steadily classified as ‘western’ since the end of World War II, during the last 30 years its European vocation has been particularly emphasised through its membership to the European Union. Although EU membership was by itself a national goal in 1981, its actual impact has been felt gradually over the last two decades in particular as legal, social and political influences starting taking shape in various policy realms as well as in media debates and national self-understandings. Although the country was firmly positioned within ‘the West’ in the Cold War period, and within ‘western Europe’ in the recent decades, Greeks tended to look at other Europeans as ‘others,’ as both ‘different’ from them and indeed indifferent to the problems and sensitivities of the region of southeast Europe (such as for instance the so-called Macedonian question44). At the beginning of the 21st century, dominant understandings of Greek national identity have been shaped by four crucial factors or frames. The first has to do with the European Union’s deepening and widening processes. The inclusion of Greece in the first phase of the Euro zone implementation, on 1 January 2002, was more than an economic accomplishment. It has also been used as a symbolic referrent of Greece’s belonging to ‘core’ Europe (essentially signifying western Europe and the countries attached to the project of further political integration among EU countries). At the same time, the 2004 and 2007 enlargements to Central and Southeastern Europe and the shifting of the EU geopolitical, cultural and religious borders farther East has made Greece inevitably less peripheral in the European landscape. Both developments make Greek national discourses more firmly anchored in Europe, overcoming to a certain
i.e. the question of recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as an independent Republic, the name that this last would take, as well as its nationalist (and in the past irredentist) claims to what Greeks consider to be part of Greek national heritage (see also Triandafyllidou, Mikrakis, and Calloni, 1997, Roudometof 1996).
extent the idea of an ethno-religiously defined, compact and unitary national identity closed to difference. The second factor too is EU related. EU enlargement policy towards Turkey and the Balkans has openned yet another identity and geopolitical challenge for Greece. Enlargement is considered as a vital factor that will contribute and consolidate stability, democracy, good-neighbourly relations and peace in southeastern Europe. As such, it has been defined as a core priority for the Greek governments, supported by a solid consensus across the main political parties. Eurobarometer public opinion results, however, indicate that this consensus is not as equally wide-spread among Greek public opinion that favours EU enlargement to southeast Europe, but is reluctant towards the entry of Turkey to the EU even if the latter fulfils all the accession criteria.45 A predominantly Muslim Turkey, a historical threatening Other for Greece, that becomes a member of the ‘European family’ raises confusion and questions as regards the extent to which differences can be accomodated and the distance can be bridged between what has been defined in very generic terms as the East with the West. Third, over the last two decades, ethnic, religious and linguistic minority rights have increasingly been a pressing matter in Europe due to the concurrence of two factors. On the one hand, regional legal and institutional frameworks – such as the OSCE and the European Convention on Human Rights – have accomplished progress on promoting the recognition and protection of minorities across Europe. This progress has hesitantly crept into the Greek socio-political reality as well, influencing debates and policies on the position and rights of minorities in Greece. Finally, since 1989, Greece has become host to a large number of immigrants that currently account for approximately 10% of the total resident population. Mainly from the Balkans (Albania and Bulgaria), central and eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine, and Russia) but also increasingly from Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China) diversity has become a fact within Greece’s demography. Immigration poses an important challenge to the dominant Greek nationalist discourses. It has slowly obliged the state institutions as well as public opinion to recognise that Greek society has become de facto multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. Debates on the accommodation of cultural and religious difference are slowly burgeoning in Greece. The focus of these debates remains, for the time being, concentrated on recognizing the diversity that exists within Greek society and providing the institutional and public space for it to be expressed. This recognition and hesitant accommodation of cultural diversity is promoted in democratic as well as patriotic ethos by reference to constitutional principles but also as a means to promote national interests. It does not yet fully involve an in-depth debate on how to accommodate these differences in ways that are sensitive to the internal distinctions of the population that does not belong to the majority. For example, the distinctions within the Muslim immigrant population are only gradually being acknowledged and the decision to construct one mosque in Athens that will be able to respond to the religious needs of all Muslims regardless of denomination, national or ethnic background is an indication of this. The fact that most of the cartoon crisis reporting focused on the reactions of fundamentalist Muslims and significantly less on the unease with the offence caused to the moderate Muslim population in both Europe and abroad is another.
The support for Turkey joining the EU if it fulfils all the criteria is on average in EU25 48% against, with highest percentages against in Austria 81%, Germany and Luxembourg 69%, Cyprus 68% and Greece 67%), Source: Eurobarometre, No. 255, Issue 65.2, July 2006, accessed on 18 October 2006 at: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_255_en.pdf.
Clearly, for the time being there is no re-consideration of the dominant national self-understanding. Difference is perceived as part of Greek society but external to the nation and to what is understood as constituting Greek identity. The challenge of migration-related diversity is yet to be fully addressed in institutional terms, and its integration into the self-definition of the nation is not yet raised as a public issue. It is against this background of a de facto multicultural but in reality rather monocultural and mono religious nation that the analysis presented in this report of the specific topics of education, discrimination in the labour market and the challenges of political participation has to be understood. In the paragraphs that follow we seek to bring together the main findings of our case studies highlighting the main concepts of difference and identity and of integration or assimilation that structure the debates and policies in each of them. We seek thus to deepen our critical insights as to how cultural diversity challenges are understood in Greece and how they relate to wider debates on multiculturalism, pluralism and recognition of diversity. 6.2 Concepts of Diversity and Interculturalism An area of special interest and probably special sensitivity for the understanding and (re-)production of identity and difference is that of education. Education is an instrument of social integration since access to information and knowledge influences access to employment, socio-economic integration and the personal development paths and prospects of individuals in their society. At the same time, education is also a tool through which identity, perceptions and understandings, real or imagined, are developed. Schools are primary sites of socialization and of national and ethnic identity negotiation. The way that the dominant cultural majority frames the educational system and the values that it propagates through schooling (methods, curricula, etc), expresses and determines perceptions of own identity and understandings of the ‘other.’ The challenge for a heterogeneous society is to meet raised expectations for educational policies that are able to respond to the needs of the entire student population. In short, for educational policies that are culturally sensitive and enhance educational, socialization and personal development opportunities for students of all communities. The last two decades of immigration have significantly, and irreversibly, altered the social, cultural, economic, ethnic, racial and religious fibre of the population residing within Greece. Three main policies have been enacted by the Greek state to respond to this increasing diversity and to the special language and educational needs of non Greek mother tongue students: first, a tiny set of schools identified as intercultural (26 in total, less than 1% of the total schools in Greece while the non Greek mother tongue school population reaches now 15% of the total); second, special programmes that aim at the intercultural training of teachers and at the promotion of special activities that promote cultural dialogue and integration within schools and reaching out to local communities; and last, reception classes for up to 2 years for newly arriving children with limited or no knowledge of the Greek language. These policies have had some successes and important shortcomings, probably the most important of which has been the failure to transpose a notion of intercultural or multicultural education to the mainstream education system. Cultural diversity has been seen as a ‘problem’ of the ‘foreign pupils’ rather than as a challenge for the
entire schooling system. Moreover, the notion of inter- or multi-cultural education that is embodied in the relative policy measures needs to be considered both from a normative and a policy perspective. In our case study, we have identified three main ‘philosophies’ of intercultural education. First, a philosophy of equality before the law: all children have a right and an obligation to attend compulsory education. This provision, which is included in the Greek Constitution, is implemented without regard to the parents’ legal or undocumented immigrant status. This view is dominant among the policy officials of the Ministry headquarters.
[the main objective is] to integrate them in the education system so that they also have the possibility of equal opportunity to access the education. (..) this is the main objective. To limit school abandonment. (I8)46
In this view, intercultural education means that all children have access to the national education system which is assumed to be open to their cultural diversity and special needs because it is based on the principles of human rights, equality, the humanist tradition, liberty of consciousness and freedom of religion. This is based on an underlying universalist approach that is deeply valued and that takes precedence over cultural relativistic considerations. This view in essence puts forward two core principles: ‘understanding and tolerance’. In other words, that cultural diversity needs to be understood and tolerated. This does not, however, imply that it should lead the host society to reconsider its own conceptions and educational principles. A rather narrow view of tolerance is involved in this view. Moreover, this approach involves a static view of culture and a ’boxed’ notion of intercultural dialogue, only at the level of individuals and within a set framework and context essentially dominated by the ‘host’ country and its culture. This framework does not allow for instance for special provisions for accommodating religious education needs of minorities while it more or less tacitly (sometimes quite evidently) accepts the prevalence of the majority religion as the ‘official religion’ of the state and of the state’s schooling system. Thus, students who are of a non-Christian Orthodox religion, are allowed to be exempted from the religion class, but there are no provisions for alternative classes, such as classes on other religions, philosophy or ethics for instance. The second philosophy of intercultural education identified in our research is sustained mainly by education practitioners. We define education practitioners as those who are involved in the everyday reality of schools as teachers or as heads of districts, notably those who belong to the ground and the intermediate level of education policy implementation. Their views show more appreciation of intercultural dialogue though there appears to be an implicit assimilation perspective subtly inherent to these views. Their view is that schools should accommodate diversity, be inviting and encouraging towards immigrant children who face important hardship both for being foreigners and for coming from generally a more disadvantaged socioeconomic background than the average Greek student. However, it is implicitly clear for them that if these immigrant families and their children chose to come to this country, they should adapt to the local reality and the national culture. Their culture and country of origin here becomes less relevant, particularly in the everyday reality. Within this view of intercultural education, there is on the one hand a high support for special measures to cater for the educational needs of foreign pupils not
All excerpts are taken from our interviews and have been translated from Greek into English by the authors of the report.
only in the officially designed intercultural schools but also in the mainstream schools that are de facto intercultural. On the other hand, intercultural education from this perspective does not involve an opening up of the national culture to cultural and religious diversity. Typically, the participation of foreign pupils in national commemorations is heralded as a sign of integration and of non-discrimination. In short, this view of intercultural education involves a gradual assimilation of the ‘foreign’ students to what is perceived as a cohesive, stable, and strong national culture and history. The intercultural ‘opening’ consists in giving them the possibility to access this identity and history and become part of it. Interestingly these views are expressed by ground-level or intermediate level educators indeed the front-level employees who make intercultural education a reality within or outside intercultural schools and reception classes. It is them who struggle for keeping up extra-curricular activities and who make all possible efforts to ensure that support and reception classes are adequately staffed, that school counsellors support actively mainstream schools with high percentages of immigrant pupils, and that additional educational material is made available to students who need it. In other words, these are the forefront practitioners who support the effective implementation of intercultural education principles. Indeed, it is telling that these practitioners see little scope in pluralising the classroom through the effective appreciation of different value systems and the recognition that the Greek value system and tradition is also gradually changing. The third type of intercultural education understanding identified through our empirical research is in close alignment with the basic features of the concept as this is defined in the relevant academic literature. This understanding is put forward by the specialised educators at the intermediate level of the Ministry and by the secondary education teachers’ association. Their views point to the ideal that characterises the intercultural approach and also an appreciation of what is happening in Greek schools.
We try to open up the school, for all. For native students too, these are our objectives. In conferences and workshops, the main statement from which we start is that intercultural education concerns native students too. Now the practice is much more difficult (..) while interaction may help the educational attainment of both foreign and native pupils if in a classroom you have pupils, in elementary or high school, who speak no Greek at all, naturally the emphasis for a time will be on language learning. But the objective should not be to convert them as much as possible into Greeks, from a linguistic and a cultural point of view. Of course I [the educator] can also take elements from these pupils. (I3)
In this approach, the principles of intercultural education do not only involve intercultural exchange and knowledge of other cultures. They also encompass a reconsideration of the ingroup culture through the interaction with culturally diverse pupils. The individual and the collective realities of cultural and religious diversity are also acknowledged here. As is the fact that not only does the host society culture and tradition change, but also that immigrant children are bearers of mixed cultural influences and mixed cultural capital leading to a new synthesis that incorporates the diversity of society.
In our view, education is still based on the same principles and values. The way in which we shall implement these principles and values have changed. That is notions like equality, differentiation in learning, respect for the personality of the child take a different connotation with the cultural diversification of the school population. (..) the
horizon has opened and made us more sensitive to the variety of differences and deviation. Many educators are not prepared for this role because [until recently] there was no course on intercultural or anti racist education, so to speak, in the main education training curricula. (I1) At the policy level it is obvious that the cultural specificities of the child are not respected and specially his educational capital, that he brings from his country is not valorised in the school context. Nor is his language or his attitudes… it is left to the sensitive education to promote and valorise in the classroom this element [of plurality] rather than leaving the mono cultural curriculum to walk calmly the road of tradition, of Greek tradition. (..) Most children (..) have a mixed cultural background which does not fit either with their parents’ background or with that of the receiving country. This specificity should be taken into account by the education system. (..) besides as long as nationalist views remain dominant and are even reinforced, the position of immigrant children will become more difficult (I1).
This third philosophy of intercultural education among the Greek policy practitioners conforms with the scholarly definitions of intercultural education and reconciles inter-culturalism with multiculturalism in the Greek education policy and reality. Although educators who spoke in favour of this view did not mention the term multiculturalism, we consider that their view of intercultural education involves the pluralisation of the national identity and recognises the dynamic character of culture. It thus avoids reifying cultures as containers and perceiving intercultural dialogue as the interaction of stable and cohesive units which mutually accept and appreciate one another but which remain closed to mutual influences. However, the above views remain marginal within Greek education policy and the wider education policy community. The policy and discourse adopted so far with regard to the integration of non Greek mother tongue pupils has been one of implicit assimilation which is often termed as ‘integration’ albeit does not recognize the reciprocal nature of the integration process. There is no consideration that Greek society is de facto changing and that structures, institutions and norms need to respond to new needs, claims and actors. The challenge of cultural diversity with special reference to schools is seen as a problem of the children of immigrants that need to learn Greek and adapt to the Greek school environment. There is no consideration that especially the second (or indeed the 1.5) generation will ask to be included in the very concept of what it means to be a Greek citizen in the 21st century; in other words that they will expect that their own cultural sensitivities or needs are addressed by the education system as well as by other sectors of the society in which they are participating in. The analysis of the Greek case reveals two research questions of general interest. The first question is more of a policy interest: intercultural education policies may be plural in the letter of the law but actually assimilatory in their daily practice, thus reflecting more strongly the dominant understandings of national identity of a given country than the more general principles of respect for and recognition of cultural diversity. Actually, a successful intervention in education policy with a view to pluralising the classroom and valuing cultural diversity needs to be supported by more general policies of intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity and social equality as well as targeted measures of lifelong training of teachers and educators. A second research question arises here on whether intercultural and multicultural educational approaches are truly different and in what ways. In the Greek literature the two approaches are clearly distinguished and are considered to be
of a different nature. Multiculturalism is described as a state of affairs, i.e. the existence of multiple groups within the same society, while interculturalism is seen as a normative approach about how diversity should be integrated at the individual level, in schools. In our view, both concepts and approaches are normative in their character. And indeed, there is a different emphasis in each approach. Interculturalism concentrates on the level of individuals and tends to reify culture as a cohesive unit emphasising dialogue between different individuals. Multiculturalism for its part, is open to both individual and collective levels of (recognition of) difference. Multiculturalism points more strongly to the need for reconsidering the identity of the ‘host’ group in ways that are inclusive of new groups, such as migrant communities. In our view there is a need for more theoretical work on the two concepts and on their ramifications in the education literature with a view to highlighting the societal models that stand behind each approach and the main political principles that underpin a more liberal perspective of interculturalism with a more communitarian approach of multicultural recognition. 6.3 Understandings of Discrimination in the Workplace Discrimination involves exclusion, distinction, restriction or preference. Discrimination may be expressed directly and/ or indirectly on the basis of race, colour, gender, descent or national or ethnic origin, religion, age as well as physical condition, sexual orientation or other socio-cultural factors. Its purpose and its implications are that it prejudices or even cancels out equal access to and enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of public life. As discussed in chapter 4, in the field of employment discrimination, John Wrench (2007) has proposed a comprehensive classification distinguishing between: direct or intentional discrimination, which encompasses racist, statistical and societal discrimination; Structural discrimination, which includes indirect, past-in-present and side-effect discrimination; and three additional types of discrimination that are mainly experienced by immigrant and ethnic minority workers in Europe, namely: opportunistic, legal and institutional discrimination. Racist discrimination in the workplace refers to notions of superiority and inferiority and may be expressed through refusal to recruit an individual on the basis of his or her natural traits, or may be expressed through verbal or physical harassment. Some scholars have argued the need to distinguish between the racist dimension and ethnic discrimination (Heckmann 2001) which tends to be founded on prejudices and stereotypes of cultural difference but in most cases, there is a mixture of both (Wrench 2007: 117). Not all forms of racist or ethnic discrimination are intentional. In fact, the most common instances of discrimination involve insensitive or inappropriate handling of cultural differences, or practices that may be perceived to be culturally neutral and that may in fact alienate or frustrate employees from specific ethnic or cultural groups, thereby marginalizing them or hindering their development and participation in the workplace. Statistical discrimination stems from perceptions that a certain group has characteristics that may have negative consequences for the organization or firm. In other words, individuals belonging to a certain group may be considered to be less productive or less suitable for a specific job on the basis of group characteristics and not on their individual merits. This kind of discrimination is motivated by an
economic rationale on the part of the employer/ recruiter and is thus distinguished from the previous kinds. Closely related to this is societal discrimination which involves cases where an employer him/herself may be free of preconceived stereotypes or prejudices but is aware that others may have negative attitudes towards members of a particular group. In this case, the employer may avoid promoting or recruiting employees belonging to certain groups in specific positions where they may have contact with customers or clients or other colleagues who could be reluctant to deal with them. Indirect discrimination is defined by Wrench as apparently ‘neutral’ recruitment practices or work policies that in practice discriminate against individuals belonging to certain groups. In the case of past-in-present discrimination, certain minority groups have traditionally been restricted to specific, and generally inferior, jobs and this structural discrimination continues in a de facto manner to the next generations. The third kind of structural discrimination involves discrimination in one social sphere that generates inequality in another even though there is no discrimination in the latter one. The typical example of side-effect discrimination is discrimination in housing or education that has direct implications for inequality in employment. Wrench has also identified three additional kinds of discrimination that are mainly relevant for immigrants (Wrench 2007: 120-1). Opportunist discrimination involves differential treatment (or even exploitation) of a particular group – for instance through inferior working conditions, lower pay, non-payment of social security contributions or overtime, etc – because this group is in a weaker position both in society and in the labour market. Immigrants, and especially migrants who have an irregular or undocumented status, are particularly vulnerable to this kind of discrimination. Legal discrimination involves the restriction of access of third country nationals to certain jobs (mainly in the public sector), or the use of restrictive work and residence permits which restrict immigrants’ mobility in the workforce. Such laws and administrative practices are unquestionably legitimate regarding access of third-country nationals to specific positions so long as they do not differentiate on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. Finally, institutional discrimination refers to the wider, more discreet structural conditions that may lead to inequality and exclusion. These conditions include rules, norms, routines, practices, attitudes and behaviours that constitute intentional or more frequently unintentional obstacles to ethnic or religious groups in enjoying the same rights as the majority of the population. Our study suggests that statistical and societal discrimination, opportunist discrimination, legal and institutional discrimination are the most relevant and pertinent kinds of discrimination for the labour force in Greece at present.47 Legal immigrants make up approximately 10% of Greece’s labour force and have so far typically occupied jobs in the labour intensive sectors of the economy: construction, agriculture, tourism, domestic and home care (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof 2008). Given the high proportion of undocumented or irregular migrants in Greece and the large portion of the country’s informal economy, the most widespread challenges faced by migrants in the workplace have to do with job insecurity and ‘exploitation’ by their employers.
As discussed above, past-in-present discrimination, side effect, indirect and ethnic discrimination is potentially more relevant for individuals belonging to ethnic and religious minority groups in Greece. This, however, falls outside the scope of EMILIE´s research focus and is therefore not elaborated on in this report.
Indeed our study has found that there is widespread confusion among policy actors, civil society bodies and the migrant workers themselves as to what constitutes exploitation and what is discrimination in the labour market. While immigrants face widespread inequality in terms of their level of wages, jobs they are offered, other benefits (e.g. insurance, overtime pay, etc.) it remains unclear whether such inequality is the result of opportunistic discrimination or simply a question of unscrupulous employers who know it is very unlikely that they will face an inspection and who take advantage of the immigrant’s socio-economic vulnerability. This dilemma is common in other southern European countries too (Zapata Barrero 2008), notably whether to define inequality as exploitation or discrimination. The question also arises as regards irregular migrants who are obliged to work in the informal economy and who in Greece in particular are not allowed to turn to public authorities for help and protection. Indeed, we need more empirical studies on this subject both with immigrant workers and their employers to explore the latter’s attitudes towards employing an immigrant worker, with or without appropriate documents. Our study has also shown that although the Greek anti-discrimination legislative framework has formally fully transposed the EU directives, there is a significant gap in the manner in which it is implemented. This gap is related to structural and practical factors (such as understaffing and limited resources) but it also clearly relates to a lack of awareness among policy and civil society actors as to what are their rights and duties in the field of equality and anti-discrimination. There is a formal and very limited understanding of what is discrimination which mainly relates to sexual preference and invalidity issues rather than cultural, ethnic or religious difference and the special needs or sensitivities that may arise in the workplace. Given the pervasive understanding of national identity as the ‘cultural property’ of the Greek people defined on the basis of their ethnic descent rather than their civic and socioeconomic participation in the community, discrimination is implicitly considered as an unavoidable reality on the ground. On the basis of this, if immigrants complained they were treated badly by public authorities and that Greek legislation on migration matters was unfair, this has tended to be approached in the mainstream public sphere as an unethical situation, a reality that is an unacceptable evil in principle, but one that is tolerated in practical terms as ‘a fact of life.’ Greece has experienced immigration for the past 20 years but has an antidiscrimination law since December 2005 only and that law was adopted under pressure by the European Union to conform with the European legislation on the matter. It is no coincidence that there were no public bodies that fought discrimination before and there was no awareness of ethnic and cultural discrimination until 2005 and probably there still is not much awareness. If we contextualize this in the general background of Greece’s history of reactive and delayed responses in the field of migration policy then this can be explained in part by the fact that as a more recent immigration country, and with migrants only relatively recently being acknowledged as a more permanent reality in Greek society and in the Greek labour market, attitudes in the public administration, among civil servants, and wider public opinion and employers, have not yet ‘caught up’ in a way with the existing situation. As such, the obligation and responsibility to equally apply non-discriminatory principles to third country nationals in the workplace is only recently becoming a more wide-spread, conscious practice. On the other hand, we note the traditional weakness of Greek civil society which has not been able yet to raise awareness on anti-discrimination issues nor to pressurize the various public and private authorities to respect, implement and adhere to the new legislative framework. Nor has it taken creative initiatives in
bringing cases of discrimination forward and seeking remedies and thereby provoking change and progress from the bottom up. The legacy of a paternalistic state and political party system has acted as a factor hindering the development of a civil society with a ‘lobbying’ mentality. However, the resources that have been provided, particularly from the EU level over the past decade and the discourses and symbolic initiatives (such as the Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2007 for instance) that have spread to all member states are likely to gradually raise awareness about the need to combat discrimination. It is unclear though how effective such awareness of the need to ensure equality can be when it is framed in a strong nationalist debate of a monoethnic and mono-religious nations that ‘owns’ the state. Research on nationalism has suggested that national majorities often have a feeling of ownership towards the nation-state, which under conditions of insecurity, can lead to neglect of the principle of equality – a combination that can seriously damage the very quality of democracy and attachment to respect for human rights and equality within a liberal democratic state. The xenophobic backlash that seems to be growing across Europe, including Greece, as the global financial crisis that started in late 2008 continues, risks exacerbating protectionist behaviours and attitudes dismissive of anti-discrimination principles both in the realm of public discourse and in practice, particularly in the workplace. In effect, latent insecurities and dissatisfaction caused by the rapid, deep and unprecedented demographic changes that occurred in Greek society and in the Greek employment sectors as a result of immigration are surfacing in disconcerting ways as the consequences of the crisis and the dire situation of Greek public finances and of the Greek economy worsen. Comments suggesting that immigration influxes – especially irregular immigration- have ‘gotten out of control’ and need to be curbed have been increasing in media and news reports and in common parlance in 2009, with the debate focusing more on security issues than on integration and cohesion priorities.
6.4 Political Participation and Representation In today’s diverse societies strengthening the civic identity of its constitutive members is necessary for multicultural societies that are socially cohesive and tolerant. Political participation and representation are necessary for residents and citizens to have a stake in the community in which they live. It adds the dimensions of responsibility and obligation to that of rights and this is important for the quality of a society’s democracy and development. Greece has matured as a host society meaning that the scope of the diversity that characterizes its new population, the length of their stay and their active participation in the country’s social, economic and cultural life has implications in the political sphere. It has implications for the mainstream political parties that are being called to respond to and integrate the claims of this sizeable and growing new population. It has implications for the migrants who are being called to express their views and positions on issues that affect their everyday life in their society of residence and who will have to express their preferences in the political arena based on ideological and instrumental motivations. Our study, however, suggests that the patterns of political affiliation, participation and patronage that we witness among co-ethnic returnees as well as
among third country nationals (TCNs) conform largely with the dominant political culture in Greece. It is thus not only native Greeks but also immigrant residents who have been socialized, for different reasons, into political systems that privileged clientelistic patronage and amoral familism. In this sense, immigrants from the former Communist countries in particular are a perfect match to the clientelistic and personalized networks of Greek party support. Having said this, there is room and opportunity at present to strengthen civic citizenship in Greece among migrants and natives alike. This can be pursued through encouraging civic classes on constitutional values, democratic governance and human rights for all population groups within Greece. Targeted measures should concentrate on secondary education in order to educate the next generation on civic values; on classes for adult migrants who wish to apply for naturalization; on specific classes for language learning and incentives to motivate attendance of civic education classes for migrant women in particular should also be developed; and wider public information campaigns reaching out to different segments of the native population should also be developed. The institutional and informal links that have been created through immigrant associations and political parties also offer a platform through which to mobilize civic and political activism and integrate non-citizens, naturalized citizens and citizens by birth. This mobilization will contribute to renewing the political debate, expanding the scope and breadth of political participation and enhance the inclusive nature of the democratic process and quality of democracy. In this light, it may be relevant for political parties to consider setting up consultative councils that include non-citizens in order to encourage an input into the policy and political debate. Finally, with a view to enriching the state of democracy in a dynamic society that has already undergone substantial transformation and which is in the process of acquiring a second generation, measures should be considered that facilitate access to citizenship for long-term residents and their children; grant the right to vote at local and regional elections initially to citizens of the Council of Europe member states who are lawful residents for five consecutive years, and subsequently to all lawful residents irrespective of their country of origin; contribute to the establishment of consultative councils at the local and regional levels that include long-term residents; and concentrate on removing red-tape and other impediments placed on applications for long-term residence status. Such policies, however, need to be coupled with a more substantial and in-depth consideration of the principles on which citizenship is based. Greek governments continue to be reluctant to introduce a jus soli element to the definition of Greek citizenship and to respond to the challenge of diversity by incorporating migrants into the polity. To date, they have preferred to retain a strong ethnic understanding of the ‘core’ of the nation, notably the Greeks of Greece, allowing only for the partial integration of ‘other’ Greeks, notably co ethnic returnees from the various places where Greek diasporas were established in past centuries, while keeping strictly outside the polity but inside the economy (and the underground economy in particular) immigrants of non Greek descent whatsoever (see also Triandafyllidou and Veikou 2002). 6.5 Concluding Remarks To conclude our analysis of the Greece case, it is useful to discuss this on the basis of eight dimensions upon which we have based our comparative study of the
understanding of difference and multiculturalism in Europe today (see Modood and Meer 2009 table below). Table 11. EMILIE Comparative Dimensions of Identity and Multiculturalism
Range → Political Orientation ↓ Promotion of equality of opportunity Emphasis on National Identity Recognition of ‘difference’
Low Low Low for old/ native minorities Low for new/ migration-created minorities No Individual with limitations for new/migrationcreated minorities
High High High for old/ native minorities High for new/ migration-created minorities Yes Individual and Group for old/ native minorities – with limitations at the group level Horizontal
Seeking Neutrality Sphere of Rights
Relationship to the Vertical State Emphasis on Low Minority Nation Identity Emphasis on Low Interaction between Groups
First, Greece can be considered a case where the principle of equality of opportunity is still rather restricted in its application. Anti-discrimination laws to promote equality and opportunity do of course exist, but are rarely applied in practice; little or no data on ethnicity and race is collected; and there is no public agency that is charged with publicity, coordination and enforcement on these issues. As such, our research leads us to situate Greece as ‘low’ on this dimension. Second, Greece is situated on the ‘high’ end of the grid as regards the emphasis that is placed on national identity. National identity is in a sense perceived as pre-defined and exclusive rather than as one that is ‘under construction’, or one that is dialectically ‘re-made’ incorporating difference as its constitutive elements change or evolve. In other words, political and popular discourse promulgates the idea of a collective nationhood through concrete and symbolic means. This is undertaken through educational policy pertaining to the school curricula, particularly with respect to history and the teaching of religion; through restrictive requirements as regards naturalization which are based on a strong and clear sense of nationhood; and in the public sphere, the dominant political discourse emphasizes collective identity in national terms.
Third, recognition of difference is rather ‘low.’ Minorities and migrant populations are expected or even required to privatize their cultural differences in the course of taking part in a pre-organised public space. There is a preference to avoid acknowledging minority difference or proactively taking initiatives aimed at ‘making space’ for this difference in the public sphere (for instance in education, in public service, etc). Fourth, the Greek state does not seek neutrality. Essentially this means that the state promotes a single and clearly defined culture and identity in the public sphere. Religious, cultural or other diversity is private to the individual in voluntary associations and organization. Fifth, there exists a substantial diversity in the private life of individuals and communities, and the state formally recognizes and protects this diversity and individuals’ ensuing rights. However, the issue of recognizing new minority groups does not arise and the state does not publicly recognize or enfranchise any groups to represent citizens. As such, individuals relate to the state as individual citizens, not as members of the group. It is important to note here, that for the third and fifth dimensions noted above, there is a distinction that needs to be made as regards the manner in which diversity is treated when it is the result of recent migration inflows, and when it relates to native, historical minority groups. In the case of Greece, diversity is acknowledged and addressed differently in relation to the Muslim population concentrated in the northeast of the country. Religious difference is recognized and accommodated in institutional terms (for instance sharia law is officially implemented, etc), and mediating institutions are active public players and interlocutors and have an administrative role to play in the state. As a result, the relationship to the state is both vertical and horizontal, as defined in the sixth criterion in the table above. In relation to individuals belonging to the historic, native Muslim population, the state engages and formulates public policy on the understanding that these individuals belong to and are shaped by communities which are important agents of the public sphere. On the contrary, in relation to individuals who have migrated to Greece in recent decades, the state-citizenship relationship is direct and vertical in that it is not mediated by groups, communities or third parties. This is closely related to the seventh dimension relating to understanding approaches to multiculturalism referred to above that involves minority national identity. In the case of Greece, minority nation identity is not promoted through institutional or administrative arrangements towards the historic native minority – as in the case of Catalonia or the Basque country in Spain. Lastly, there is a ‘low’ degree of emphasis on interaction between groups. The state does not pursue strategies to proactively engender ‘social mixing’ either nationally or locally. This is mainly because it is yet not considered a policy priority to provoke concerted efforts at encouraging social interaction aimed at promoting community cohesion. What efforts do exist are mainly initiated by civil society active in the fields of promoting human rights, equality, non-discrimination and combating racism and xenophobia. Drawing from the above, we argue here that principles of multiculturalism in Greece tend to be considered as sources of division and societal disintegration. Multiculturalism is not seen as a ‘community of communities’ as Bhikhu Parekh had proposed for Britain. Rather, for most Greek experts and policy makers multiculturalism is not a normative principle but a de facto situation where several
cultural or religious communities co-exist without really interacting and integrating with one another. By contrast, inter-culturalism is seen as a more positive concept that is actuated at the individual level and that includes recognition and respect for diversity and intercultural dialogue. However, at least in its Greek version, interculturalism is a limited notion because it sees cultures as closed containers: newcomers come into a Greek cultural box where they exchange views with natives in an atmosphere of respect and equality but they have no right to participate in this box and indeed change its edges. This notion of interculturalism is a positive principle to the extent that it aims at guaranteeing individual rights and raising awareness of cultural difference and sensitivity towards cultural and religious minority claims. However, it indirectly leads to assimilation since to the extent that the majority culture is seen as a static and cohesive unit, alien individuals have either to adapt or to leave the society of settlement. Nonetheless, one should also note that inter-culturalism can also be open-ended as inter-cultural communication and dialogue may also need to new synthesis, even if this possibility is not initially recognized, and especially not at the institutional level. It is interesting that left-right wing divisions in the Greek social and political spectrum cut across ideological positions with regard to the nation and migration. Thus, there are pro-immigrant and pro-diversity supporters in both left and right wing parties as there are more conservative approaches to integration and to policies that are better suited to management of diversity in both camps. Political elites remain embedded in the political culture of amoral familism and political patronage that has characterized modern Greece throughout its recent history. Thus, the gradual integration of co-ethnic immigrants into the policy comes to be inscribed on the same matrix, not least because these immigrants are also familiar with this system of personalized networks and exchange of political favours. As has been widely documented and studied, during the last decades of Communist rule most state apparatuses of Central and Eastern European countries were largely corrupt and Communist party leaders had become political patrons within a dominant state bureaucracy. In this context, notions of membership, equality and legitimacy become particularistic. Membership remains limited to the ethnic core and the co-ethnics, thus equality and legitimacy are valid principles only for citizens. The duty of the state to treat other residents equally and to accept their claims as legitimate because of their socio-economic and civic membership to society is formally recognized (because enshrined partly in the Constitution and in national legislation) but is substantially negated. They are seen as disenfranchised and non-legitimate clients of the political system. The holders of power within the system may grant them what are perceived to be ‘favours’ rather than entitlements, to the extent that they feel these favours are largely also to their own interest. At the same time, religious freedom is defined in the narrow sense, as a negative freedom and at the individual level only. Individuals who are part of minority religious groups may not participate in events or processes that they may feel as a violation of their religious identity. There is no positive provision however to fulfill the condition of religious freedom. There is no freedom to choose one’s religious class among a range of classes offered, or to select a secular, philosophy class instead of a class on religion. There are no institutional fora in which to engage in a dialogue and in which immigrants can raise claims that relate to their cultural and religious needs. State responses to such needs and claims are understood as benevolent concessions that the majority makes to disenfranchised minorities mainly
for its own interest (including the negatively defined interest not to be exposed to criticism by other countries). Thus, religious freedom is understood as tolerance in the narrow sense rather than as a condition of religious equality, much less so as a basis for religious pluralism. What is probably more striking in the analysis of the Greek case and of the ways in which the Greek state and civil society deal with diversity is not the concepts on which their views are based – these are well known to anyone who has studied Greek society and politics – but rather the concepts or notions that are absent from debates. For instance, there is no reference to religious pluralism and to how this could be implemented in a society in which cultural and religious diversity is increasing. There is little discussion of secularism in relation to migrant incorporation in Greek society. NGOs and experts that campaign for the complete separate of Church and State in Greece do not see this as a response to the increasing diversity that characterizes Greek society but rather as a need for reshuffling the power balance and the nexus of political alliances. While their aims are valid and would certainly contribute to a strengthening of notions of civic citizenship they are not raised as a response to migration related cultural and religious diversity. Last but not least, it is striking that European debates on equality, diversity, pluralism, and tolerance principally influence policy decisions and legislation by necessity; only gradually and still only from a small minority are these beginning to permeate national discourses on identity and difference. It appears that for a majority of political elites and citizens, such discourses remain alien, ‘European’ but not ‘Greek’. As the first decade of the 21st century is closing, Greece, along with the rest of the European Union, is faced with pressing challenges with regard to the integration of migration related cultural diversity and particularly with responding to the needs and claims of its immigrant population. On the basis of our empirical research, we have suggested that national self-understandings are based on both ethnic and civic elements albeit with a strong prevalence of the former over the latter. This is especially the case when the question arises of what place immigrants should occupy in Greek society and polity. While democracy and religious freedom are enshrined in the Greek Constitution and are often cited by policy makers and other interviewees in the different parts of this study as the main principles guiding policy and practice, the underlying understanding of these two notions appears to be ethnically biased. Democracy essentially holds only for those of ethnic descent. In the areas that we have studied, there is a growing majority that considers that the exclusion of a part of the population that lives and works in a country, contributes to the national economy and society and participates in the civic life is not acceptable within a democratic state. However, there is still reluctance or hesitance to fully translate this principle into policies and implement these. The acknowledgement that Greece is now consolidated as a migration host society and a significant, integral and long-term part of its population is of non-Greek descent is still rather recent. Thus, the dominant understanding continues to refer to a restrictive understanding of who comprises the polity. Therefore, the approach that all those – i.e. Greeks and non-Greeks, who are concerned by a law should have a say (direct or indirect) in the governance of the polity to which they belong is only now kicking off.
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Tsoukalas, C. (1993), "Greek National Identity in an Integrated Europe and a Changing World Order", in Psomiades, H. and Thomadakis, S. [eds.], Greece, the New Europe and the Changing International Order, New York: Pella. Tsoukalas, C. (2002), "The Irony of Symbolic Reciprocities. The Greek Meaning of ‘Europe’ as a Historical Inversion of the European Meaning of ‘Greece’", pp. 27-50 in af Malmborg, M. and Strath, B. [eds.], The Meaning of Europe, Oxford: Berg. Tziovas, D. (1994), “The Western Imaginary of Hellenism and the Search for Transnationality” (Η ∆υτική Φαντασίωση και η Αναζήτηση του Υπερεθνικού), in Scientific Congress on Nation-State-Nationalism (Eπιστηµονικό Συνέδριο ΕθνοςΚράτος-Εθνικισµός), V.A. Athens: Eteria Spoudon Neoellinikou Politismou kai Genikis Pedias. (in Greek) Veremis, Τ. (1983), "State and Nation in Greece: 1921-1912" (Kράτος και Εθνος στην Ελλάδα: 1821-1912), pp. 59-60 in Tsaousis, D. [ed.], Hellenism and Greekness: Ideological and Biographical Axes of Modern Greek Society (EλληνισµόςΕλληνικότητα: Ιδεολογικοί και Βιωµατικοί Αξονες της Νεοελληνικής Κοινωνίας), Athens: Estia. (in Greek) Vergeti, M. (1991), Pontic Greeks from Asia Minor and the Soviet Union: Problems of Integration into Modern Greece, Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 382-395. Vergeti, M. (1994), From Pontos to Greece (Από τον Πόντο στην Ελλάδα). Thessalonike: Oιkos Adelfon Kyriakidi. (in Greek) Vergeti, M. (1998), Co Ethnics from the Former Soviet Union 1985-1995 (Οµογενείς από την Πρώην Σοβιετική Ένωση 1985-1995), Thessaloniki: Oikos Adelfon Kyriakidi. (in Greek) Wrench, J. (2007), Diversity Management and Discrimination. Immigrant and Ethnic Minorities in the EU, Research in Migration and Ethnic Relations Series, London: Ashgate. Zambeta, E. (2000), Religion and National Identity in Greek Education, Intercultural Education, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 145-155.
Newspaper Articles Athens News (www.athensnews.gr) • • Tzilivakis, K., Citizenship Backlog, 7 January 2004. Tzilivakis, K., Ethnic Greeks of Albania Start Getting Greek Citizenship at a Rate of One Every Six Days, 12 January 2007 (Article code: C13217A152), <http://www.athensnews.gr/athweb/nathens.print_unique?e=C&f=13217&m=A15&a a=2&eidos=A>, Accessed 27 November 2007.
Eleftherotypia (www.eleftherotypia.gr) • Immigrants in ‘Isolation’ [Μετανάστες σε «Aποµόνωση»] (in Greek), 26 November 2007. Accessed 15 June 2008 from: <http://www.enet.gr/online/online_hprint?q=%EC%E5%F4%E1%ED%E1%F3%F4 %E5%F2+%26+%EC%E1%E8%E7%EC%E1%F4%E1&a=&id=76140248>
Dama, G., Commitment for Migrant Inclusion in Local Elections [∆έσµευση για Συµµετοχή των Μεταναστών στις Τοπικές Εκλογές], 6 October 2008. (in Greek) Accessed 1 November 2008 from: <http://www.enet.gr/online/online_print?id=36853264> Ios tis Kyriakis, Athens daily, Kyriakatiki Eleftherotipia, 4 January 2004, www.enet.gr/
Kathimerini (www.kathimerini.gr) • English Edition, 18-19 January 2003. Accessed 03/09/2007 from <http://www.migrantsingreece.org/files/STAT_8.bmp> English Edition, Ten Percent of School Population are Immigrants, 31 March 2007. Greek Edition, 15 January 2008, page 3.
Ta Nea (http://dolnet.tanea.gr) • Kaplani, G., The Vote and the Tears [Η Ψήφος και τα ∆άκρυα], 13 November 2007. (in Greek) Accessed 10 November 2008 from: <http://www.tanea.dr//Article.aspx?d=20071113&sn=ΟΡΙΖΟΝΤΕΣ%spid=221>
To Vima (http://tovima.gr) • Giannaka, S. All for the Immigrant Vote [Όλα για την Ψήφο των Μεταναστών], 20 August 2006. (in Greek) Accessed on 1 November 2008 from: <http://tovima.dolnet.gr/print/php?e=B&f=14843&m=A12&aa=1>
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