A draft bill stipulating the framework for the establishment and operation of non-state higher education institutes in Greece, a long-standing pledge by ruling center-right New Democracy (ND) party, will soon be tabled in Parliament, the relevant minister announced on Saturday.

A constitutional ban on the operation of non-state universities in Greece has prevented all but state-run institutions from offering recognized – by the Greek state, at least – degrees and diplomas. This regime renders the east Mediterranean country as among the very few countries around the world without recognized (by the country in which they are located) non-state higher education institutes, regardless of whether the latter are non-profit or private for-profit universities and colleges.

Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis said the constitutional ban will eventually be overcome, “even in the form of cooperation with foreign university institutions”.

“We are currently working on criteria that will ensure that subsidiaries of foreign universities will operate with the best academic and facility standards, in order to provide high-quality services to their students,” he said.

Pierrakakis, who received top marks as the digital governance minister in the previous Mitsotakis Cabinet, repeated the government’s standing position, namely, “that the state’s monopoly in higher education is a historical anachronism”.

“This has rendered the country into something akin to an educational ‘orphan’…we aim to change Article 16 of the Constitution in order to definitively resolve this pending issue. Until then, however, we intend to utilize all available opportunities available in the Constitution, EU and international law to establish branches of foreign universities in Greece”,” he said, in comments carried by the local news site Liberal.gr.