Greek nationality is not an admission criterion for Greece's nursery schools, the government said on Thursday after a far-right deputy requested data on immigrant schoolchildren across the country.
In a statement released Thursday, the Interior Ministry said that -- as stipulated by European Union regulations -- 96 percent of schoolchildern are Greek, two percent were born inside the 27-member bloc, while two percent come from other countries.
In a question to Parliament earlier this month, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayiotaros demanded that the Interior Ministry provide information on immigrant children placed in kindergartens across the country.
Speaking at a party rally before the June elections the same MP said that “should Golden Dawn enter Parliament, it will carry out raids in hospitals and kindergartens so as to throw out all illegal immigrants and their children.”
The Interior Ministry on Thursday denied it had asked municipalities for detailed information on immigrant children, contending that it only asked for more general statistical data. Reports however suggest that ministry officials had originally complied with Golden Dawn's request as several schools across the country alledge to have received documents from local authorities asking for information on foreign schoolchildren.
A Cretan municipality reportedly turned down the request saying that “we will not hand over data of infants to neo-Nazis who openly threaten them.”
Golden Dawn's popularity has surged since the election, when it won 18 seats in parliament. The xenophobic party recently came third in several opinion polls, behind the conservative New Democracy and the left wing SYRIZA party.