Volume 12, No 1

May 7, 2020

Citizenship Education curriculum in Greece - beyond ethnocentric or eurocentric approach



The issue of intercultural and citizenship learning has concerned scholars for a long time while subjects such as history, geography, civic and citizenship have been shaping young peoples’ identity. Under migration pressures and the European Union’s integration these subjects have been often challenged and transformed. In the case of Greece, subject’s textbook topics on immigration and diversity have been promoting more ethnocentrism and eurocentrism. This paper presents those findings, and in so doing it explores the ways in which the Greek state’s and the EU’s intercultural education policy have impacted the specific school subject. It focuses on the Greek nation’s identity formation, while discussing the country’s response to the EU’s calls for common policies in the area of intercultural and citizenship education. The last section of this essay provides new insights into the educators’ tools to implement less ethnocentric and more inclusive curriculums and programs by exploring an extra- curricular, online peer mentoring program that was initiated and implemented in Australia to foster intercultural awareness.

Article Keywords: Intercultural and citizenship education, online language programs, peer mentoring, eurocentrism, Greece, ethnocentrism.

Governing education policy: the European Union and Australia1


This paper considers the changing modes of governance of education policy in the European Union (EU) and Australia through a lens of ‘soft governance’. It considers the increased use of ‘policy instruments’ such as benchmarking, targets, monitoring, data-generation in policy-making in recent decades. It considers the roles these policy instruments play in coordinating education policy in the EU and Australia as well as their intended and unintended consequences. It shows that in the EU, these instruments played a role in strengthening the coordination through the links between individuals and programs, and networking, which is seen as resulting in enhanced creativity in policy solutions, development of new norms and new means for achieving policy goals. While in Australia it seems that the role of these instruments is focused on consolidating the role of the Commonwealth’s oversight and control over what constitutionally is a responsibility of States which adds to several policy tensions already existing in the federal coordination of education.

Article Keywords: education policy, policy instruments, soft governance, benchmarks, target-setting, COAG

Exporting environmental objectives or erecting trade barriers in recent EU free trade agreements


The European Union (EU) has historically sought to influence environmental policies of other countries through multilateral environmental agreements. Under its 7th Environmental Action Plan and Trade for All strategy it now seeks to extend its environmental policy projection through trade; its recent free trade agreements now contain chapters addressing environment and sustainable development. However, by adopting high environmental standards the EU can also advance its own economic interests suggesting an ambiguous motivation. The recent Korean, Japanese and Canadian FTAs and the Mercosur agreements are examined in order to place the extent of this environmental turn within the context of economic advantage. The finding is that while environmental protection provisions in these FTAs may have environmental benefits, they may also serve EU domestic economic interests. This motivation has implications for new FTA negotiations, such as those with New Zealand and Australia, and now the UK.

Article Keywords: Environment, environmental policy, free trade agreement; sustainable development; international trade, EU trade policy

Member state's lawlessness and European law – the case of Poland


Since 2015 the Polish authorities have undertaken numerous actions subordinating the country’s judiciary to political influence. These steps met resistance from the European Union (EU), including proceedings by the European Commission and at the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ). The judgement of the ECJ in the case A.K. and Others v Sąd Najwyższy (2019) brought the situation to another level by empowering national courts to verify the independence of other domestic judicial bodies. While the ECJ empowered Polish judges to reject the domestic court-packing, the Polish state countered this with internal disciplinary sanctions. I discuss this tension and consider the upcoming conflict between the ECJ and the Polish Constitutional Tribunal (‘CT’). I conclude by highlighting the fact that whereas Poland breaches European law, the breach will be hard to rectify due to the lack of independent enforcement mechanisms on the side of the EU.

Article Keywords: European Law, Rule of law, Poland, European Court of Justice, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, the infringement procedure

Italy and Euroscepticism – political uncertainty gives way to temporary political relief


The 2018 elections in Italy produced an electoral outcome that caused much concern for the EU and often led to confrontation between Rome and Brussels, particularly over budget spending and migration policy. The coalition between ‘populist’ Five-Star Movement and the far-right League (Lega Nord) demonstrated a nationalist agenda and strong anti-EU sentiments. With over a year in power, the government saw the emergence of Matteo Salvini, whose dominance as the agenda setter continued to grow through his tough stance against migration. This was evidenced by the increased popularity and favourable results in the European Parliamentary elections of May 2019. The most recent of political crises, in Italy which saw Salvini undermine his government to trigger new national elections to win the majority has backfired and left him sidelined with the creation of a new coalition between PD and the Five-Star Movement. This paper wishes to highlight the opportunity for the EU to show solidarity with Italy by supporting the new government on issues such as migration management and allowing flexibility on its budget. Taking this chance to improve Italian citizens’ attitudes towards the union is imperative to reducing the risk of Salvini returning to power

Article Keywords: Italy, EU, Italian politics, populism, Euroscepticism