German appears to be elbowing out French as the second most popular foreign language after English taught in Greek schools. According to the German Language Teachers Union, the ratio of pupils taking German as their second foreign language rose from 20% in 2000 to 49% in 2013-14 and to just over 50% in the 2020-21 academic year.
Speaking to Kathimerini, the head of the union, Christina Markoudi, attributes the rise to closer business ties between the two countries and the prospect of attending a German university and finding a job there. Greeks immigrating to Germany during the economic crisis also played a role, she says.
Greek schools start teaching a second foreign language in fifth and sixth grade. Pupils are given the option of choosing between German and French, long regarded as essential for their professional and social advancement as a result of close cultural and diplomatic ties with France.