According to recommendations of the UN Secretary General's Global Education First Initiative, countries and regions require a number of structural changes if they are to implement educational policies and practice based on global citizenship education, and to promote respect and responsibility across cultures. In this paper, we present the first results of a three-year project to compare existing educational policies, strategies and school curricula in ten European Union (EU) countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Spain, Portugal, UK) to ascertain the current level of such structural changes. Through a comparative policy analysis, we investigated whether, to what extent, and how global citizenship education is integrated within primary school curricula. The article focuses on national governmental agencies – specifically two main bodies in each country, the ministries of foreign affairs and education – and their political discourses. We argue that the gap between the two traditions, with separate approaches, purposes, concepts and bureaucracies, represents a strategic political challenge for the introduction of global citizenship education in primary schools.