Politicians from 12 EU countries have called on Boris Johnson to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece as a sign of its intent to build a positive relationship with the EU27 after Brexit.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, seen by, 30 MEPs “respectfully” request the UK amend the law to allow the British Museum, where they presently reside, to return the marbles.
The artefacts, taken from Athens’s Acropolis by Lord Elgin early in the 19th century when Greece was under Ottoman rule, have been the subject of a a long-running dispute over their residence in London since they were first put on permanent display in 1817.
The cross-party group of MEPs, including representatives of countries such as Portugal and Slovakia as well as Greece and Cyprus, told Mr Johnson that Brexit is “an opportunity for your government to send a signal to the world that the United Kingdom, whilst respecting your history, is looking to a post Brexit future with renewed confidence”.
They have requested Britain returns the marbles to Greek soil by 25 March 2021, the 200th anniversary of the formation of the modern Hellenic state.
Under the 1963 British Museum Act, the British Museum cannot give the artefacts to Greece without approval by MPs.
The MEPs told Mr Johnson: “With your knowledge and love of Greece and Greek history, we are sure you appreciate that the Greek people have a right to seek as part of their cultural heritage and identity, and do seek with great fervor, to have these sculptures re-united in Athens, where they were sculpted, erected, and viewed for 2,300 of the last 2,500 years.”
Sourced By: Inews