Greece still has no intention of recognizing degrees issued by local private colleges under franchising deals with European universities, the government insisted yesterday, in the wake of a move by senior European Union officials to upgrade such qualifications. «There is no chance of foreign colleges cooperating with European universities under franchising agreements being recognized in Greece [as universities],» Education Minister Marietta Giannakou said. «Only if [Greece] is granted full rights to monitor the infrastructure and to engage in contact with the foreign, public universities, can we discuss what rights [the colleges] can be granted.» Her remarks followed Wednesday’s decision by the council of EU ministers of competitiveness to approve a draft directive recognizing the professional rights of graduates from such colleges. In Greece, the matter is particularly touchy as the Constitution only recognizes state universities. Strong competition for university places has led thousands of young Greeks to enroll at private colleges.