The exams, which were held for the first time in May 2021, are organized according to the standards of the nationwide exams and tomorrow the fifth exam procedure will be held
In an institution, the exams for obtaining the Certificate of Proficiency of Knowledge for Naturalization (PEGP) which is a prerequisite for the acquisition of Greek citizenship by allogeneic foreigners, tend to be established.
The exams, which were held for the first time in May 2021, are organized according to the standards of the national courts, twice a year and tomorrow the fifth examination procedure is to be held.
A total of 4,798 candidates have applied, who were distributed among 61 examination centers set up in eleven cities, specifically in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Rhodes, Ioannina, Chania, Tripoli, Chalkida and Mytilini. Of these, six are special examination centers for the oral examination of candidates over the age of 62, persons with a disability of more than 67% and those with a diagnosed learning disability.
“It is an inviolable system that no one can question,” a high-ranking official of the General Secretariat of Citizenship of the Ministry of the Interior, which organizes the process, told the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency. The integrity of the exams has been certified by the National Transparency Authority and the Ombudsman.
In the four previous examination procedures, the successful candidates were a total of 9,485. In the first exams, 2,425 candidates applied and 2,176 participated, of which 1,680 passed, a percentage corresponding to 72.6% of the examinees.
There was a significant increase in applications for the second exams, held in November 2021, but inversely proportional was the success rate. Specifically, the number of candidates reached 6,418, 5,640 came to the examination centers and 2,661 succeeded, i.e. 47.18% of the participants.
A further rise in entries occurred in the third process, held in May 2022. The total number of applications reached 8,281 and 7,318 people eventually participated. The pass rate dropped to 45.82%, as 3,353 candidates obtained the certificate.
In the last process, in November 2022, 4,094 out of 4,564 people who applied took part. There were 1,741 passers, resulting in a pass rate of just 42.52%, the lowest compared to the previous three exams.
The organization Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity, in its latest report on the assessment of the administrative process of granting citizenship in Greece, acknowledges that the organization of the exams “improves every time and their conduct now runs smoothly, with no recorded problems”. He does not fail to point out, however, that the success rates show a downward trend and are particularly low in the last three exams, noting that “the phenomenon is definitely discouraging for candidates”.
As the competent official of the Ministry of the Interior emphasizes, “a priority for us is that the degree of difficulty is the same for all examinees throughout the country, which is achieved with this system.” The inhomogeneity of the (oral) questions was one of the main features of the previous system conducted by the Regional Directorates. “Indicative of the great discrepancy in the difficulty of the questions per case is that while in the Regional Directorates of Attica the committees asked the candidates about which is the largest square in Athens and which is the most important monument of the city, in another in the province the candidates were asked to refer to the battle of Manzikert”, reports the same official.
In order to establish the inclusion of the candidates in the Greek reality, they are examined in the Greek Language (understanding and production of spoken and written language) and in four thematic units: Geography, History, Culture and Political Institutions. The exam topics are drawn from predetermined material that includes 500 questions with their answers using the multiple choice method in the Topic Bank, which is open to anyone interested through the website https://exetaseis-ithageneia.ypes. Gr. Participation applications are also submitted on the same platform, which is also hosted on gov.gr. It is noted that one week after the day of the exams and for a period of 15 calendar days, candidates who did not attend the exams for reasons of force majeure or insurmountable obstacle must connect to the website https://exetaseis-ithageneia.ypes.gr/aitiseis/ #login, in order to register the reason for their absence by submitting the corresponding supporting documents. If the reasons cited by the candidates are accepted, then they are exempted from the obligation to pay the 150 euros as examiners in their next participation in the exams.
In the previous exams, the participants were asked, among other things, to mark on the map of Greece the location of specific cities and islands, to answer in which temple the Caryatids are located, which composer set the poetry of Nikos Kavadias to music, which film won 8 awards at the Film Festival in 2003 and the blowing up of which bridge was a great success of the National Resistance, while they were asked to identify Andreas Papandreou in a photo.
In the part of the examination that concerns the understanding of the written word, questions were given based on a text entitled “Thanks to the Unknown Volunteer”, while subsequently the candidates had to develop their own text in 80-100 words that would recognize the contribution of an unknown volunteer who accepted to undergo a trial of the vaccine for Covid-19.
Those who have attended a Greek school, either in nine classes of primary and secondary education or in six classes of secondary education, and those who hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate from Greek higher education (HEI, TEI, SELETE, RELAX).
The results are communicated to the interested parties after one to one and a half months. Afterwards, in order for the successful candidates to be granted citizenship, they will have to prove their financial integration, the main presumption of which is the declared income. This is set at €7,500 per year, which is the basic salary of an unskilled worker, and €6,500 during the pandemic period for five to seven years prior to the application, depending on the type of residence permit. For married people, this financial limit concerns the family income, i.e. it is enough that the spouse has covered it. For people with a certified disability of more than 67%, the amount of 5,500 euros per year was defined as a minimum sufficient income. Spouses of Greek citizens with Greek children, as well as citizens of the European Union, as long as they prove income for the previous three years. According to Generation 2.0 “minimum sufficient income is the primary and insurmountable barrier to the new naturalization system, leading to the rejection of a large proportion of applications”. A recent decision of the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal, however, vindicates the relevant choice of the Minister of the Interior Makis Voridis, as it recognizes that through them it is ascertained that the applicant meets the criteria for financial integration and therefore has secured an adequate standard of living, without burdening Greek society, in the context of safeguarding of the public interest.
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