As if Brexit tensions were not bad enough, Brussels has opened a new row with the UK by backing Greece’s long-standing claim over the Parthenon Marbles, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
When the UK and Greece were both European Union members, the bloc tried to remain above the fray and adopted a position of studious neutrality in the dispute.
However, a day after UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said the Parthenon Marbles were not being returned, the Greek EU commissioner announced it backed Greece’s claim.
“The Marbles belong in the Parthenon. In these difficult times, universal cultural heritage should uplift humanity, not divide it,” Margaritis Schinas, European Commission’s Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, said.
The call was backed by former Labour Europe minister, Denis MacShane, who said on Twitter: “He’s Greek. [It’s] like asking a Brit official if Falklands belong to Argentina.
“Why are we so proud to defend a syphilitic looter? We made the Nazis hand back stolen art [and] sculpture after 1945.”
The 2500-year-old Parthenon Marbles are a long running sore point in Britain’s relations with Greece. In the lead up to Greece’s bicentenary celebrations of the 1821 Greek Revolution, Athens has reinvigorated its campaign to repatriate the fifth-century BC carvings.
Greece has long argued that reunification of the sculptures, displayed in museums across Europe but mostly in London, is integral to understanding the artworks in the context of the Parthenon.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.