European societies rely on different models to address cultural and religious diversity in education, with different potential consequences for the experiences youth have in schools. Some prefer the term intercultural education emphasising dialogue and interaction while others have historically followed the idea of multicultural education. In recent years, despite the principle of subsidiarity, European institutions have become a key player in education including intercultural education. This article draws on four semi-structured interviews with European Union (EU) education policy-makers to explore the Europeanisation of intercultural education, specifically why and how national educational discourses are shaped by European directives and guidelines. We found that European discourses often run counter to national policies and that EU officials are deeply engaged in promoting intercultural educational philosophies and tackling the educational attainment gaps via the soft-law tool of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). The study raises questions about the legitimacy of such EU interventions in national policy domains and assesses the usefulness of a more integrated approach to intercultural education in Europe.
- intercultural education