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Greece asks Return of Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit deal

Greece is pushing that the return of the stolen Parthenon Marbles becomes part of the Brexit talks deal. MEP Stelios Kouloglou, from ruling SYRIZA, is demanding that negotiators bring up the issue as part of the discussions.

Kouloglou has written twice to the European Commission to ask them to play a part in Brexit talks, and has hinted that if they are not returned, they may be used to hold up a deal.

Kouloglou said: “Brexit negotiators must take into account the need to protect European cultural heritage. The Parthenon Marbles are considered as the greatest symbol of European culture.  Therefore, reuniting the marbles would be both a sign of respect and civilized relationship between Great Britain and the EU, and much more [than] a legal necessity.”

Written question to European Parliament by Stelios Kouloglou. June 30 & July 19 2017

Subject:  Parthenon Marbles to be returned as part of Brexit
In response to a previous similar question, the Commission had answered that the EU has no authority to intervene in the preservation of the cultural heritage of Member States. However, Articles 3, 50 and 167 TFEU taken together provide that the Brexit negotiators must take into account the need to protect European cultural heritage. The Parthenon Marbles are considered as the greatest symbol of European culture. Therefore, reuniting the Marbles would be both a sign of respect and civilised relationship between Great Britain and the EU, and much more a legal necessity.

In view of this:

1. Will the Commission meet its legal obligation as deriving from the combination of Articles 3, 50 and 167 TFEU, and request the return of the Parthenon Marbles before Great Britain exits the EU?
2. Does the Commission believe that Directive 93/7/EEC, only applicable to the return of unlawfully removed objects since 1993, protects our cultural heritage sufficiently?
3. Will the Commission take binding action to fill this legal gap?

But the EU has reportedly disputed the claims, saying that the Brexit team is not obliged to address the issue.

They say it is an issue for the individual states involved.

 

Earlier this week, the chairman of the International Parthenon Sculptures Action Committee, Alexis Mantheakis, demanded politicians use them as leverage.

Mantheakis has told Kathimerini the fact that the final agreement for Brexit will have to be passed through European Union national parliaments gives Athens added leverage in its bid to repatriate the sculptures.

“The English will need to receive approval from the Greek Parliament for something they want,” Mantheakis said, adding that it is, perhaps, the first time that Greece has the diplomatic means to enforce their return. This shouldn’t harm Britain, he added, as public opinion has backed the Greek request for many years.”

The Marbles were hacked off from the Parthenon on the Acropolis 200 years ago upon orders of  the British ambassador back then Lord Elgin.

The Parthenon Marbles ( or Elgin Marbles for the Brits) ended up in the British Museum, which insists that they were legally bought from the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area at the time.

The Brits may have freaked out about  Greeks’ “Marbles vs Brexit” but the original proposal came from a Briton.

“The Parthenon Marbles could be apart of the Brexit deal between UK and the European Union,” Geoffrey Robertson, head of the UK law firm Head of Doughty Street Chambers Greece briefly had hired to claim the Parthenon Marbles back.

The Marbles are, of course, priceless, and a UK offer to return them should be accepted in return for major concessions,” Robertson had proposed.

PS After all these bailout blackmails on the part of the EU (UK incl) it wouldn’t harm if Greece could do some blackmail as well. For a change, that is.

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