A protracted-running dispute between Britain and Greece over ancient treasures has spilled into tensions over Brexit after a requirement for the return of stolen cultural artifacts was added to the draft of a European Union negotiating mandate.
The British Museum in London has refused to return the Parthenon Marbles, 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin faraway from Athens within the early 19th century when Greece was underneath Ottoman Turkish rule.
A draft of the 27 EU nations’ place on negotiations with Britain on their future relationship, which was seen by Reuters on Tuesday, seeks the “return or restitution of unlawfully eliminated cultural objects to their nations of origin.”
The doc didn’t specify any cultural objects.
However, an EU diplomat stated the road was added on the request of Greece, with help from Italy.
Greece’s tradition minister stated final month that Athens would step up its marketing campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from London and anticipated to win extra help from European friends as Brexit diminishes Britain’s affect.
There was no speedy remark from the workplace of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who led the U.K. out of the European Union on Jan. 31, greater than three years after Britons voted in a referendum to go away.
Rhetoric between London and Brussels over the phrases of their future relationship has grown sharper this month forward of negotiations as a consequence of begin in early March.
The British Museum says the marbles, that are roughly half of a 160-metre frieze that adorned the fifth century B.C. Parthenon temple, have been acquired by Elgin underneath a authorized contract with the Ottoman empire. Greece says they have been stolen.
An EU supply, who declined to be named as a result of discussions on the mandate are confidential, stated the reference to stolen artifacts was included in a draft of the doc as early as final week.
The supply stated it additionally had help from Cyprus and Spain and that, Greece’s issues concerning the marbles apart, EU nations have been extra broadly involved concerning the unlawful commerce of artifacts via London public sale homes.