A Greek politician is campaigning for the Parthenon Marbles to be returned to Athens as part of the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union. The call comes as the EU and Britain begin talks over what Britain ‘owes’ the European Union in cash terms as it exits the single market, a figure that is likely to be at least £36 billion (A$59 billion).
Syriza’s Stelios Kouloglou, a member of the European Parliament, has said that under EU law, European Commission negotiators should raise the issue. Mr Kouloglou, an investigative journalist and creator of the news web channel TVXS, has written to the commission demanding the Marbles’ return to be part of the Brexit negotiations.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos Mr Kouloglou said: “British governments are still denying repair the historical injustice.
The Parthenon is the symbol of European culture and democracy, not the symbol of looting during occupation and colonialism.
“Leaving the European Union, the UK must give back the Marbles to where they belong, to Europe and Greece.”
Mr Kouloglou added that it was “time for the United Kingdom to make a European gesture.”
Meanwhile the European Commission has poured cold water on the idea, telling media that it did not believe that under EU law the long-running saga should not come under the terms of their negotiating team.
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said the protection of cultural heritage was primarily the responsibility of EU member states and not the commission.
While the European Commission does have a directive on the return of unlawfully removed cultural objects it applies only to objects removed after 1993. Commissioner Navracsics said: “The Parthenon Marbles were removed long before this date, and the EU has no competence in the matter.”