The Great London + [UK]

United Kingdom: So-called 'radical left' gov’t of Greece will not legally pursue return of Parthenon sculptures

Culture Minister Aristides Baltas decided that Athens will no longer claim the return of the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum in fear that Greece might lose the legal battle.

So-called 'radical left' gov’t of Greece will not legally pursue return of Parthenon sculptures
Speaking to the parliamentary committee on educational issues, Baltas said, “We will not proceed with legal claims because we are at risk of losing the case.” The committee is working on a draft bill for the return of cultural artifacts that have been illegally removed from Greek soil.

Former culture minister Costas Tasoulas called the handling of the issue “unacceptable.” Tasoulas had made an effort to pursue the return of the Parthenon sculptures using the legal advice of a British law firm.

The British law firm gave the document of their counsel to the Greek Embassy in London which was forwarded to the ministry of culture. The ministry of culture ignored the counsel and refused to accept it.

It should be noted that the total cost of the legal advice came to 200,000 English pounds, an amount that was paid by a Greek living in London who preferred to remain anonymous.

The fact that Amal Clooney was part of the legal team that came to Athens, gave the issue great publicity and drew international sympathy for the Greek argument. In fact, Tasoulas said, at the time the issues was raised, three British lawmakers stated in British Parliament that the marbles should return to their place of origin.

Greece argued that the sculptures should return to Athens to “join” the remaining marbles in their natural habitat and be exhibited at the Acropolis Museum with the rest of the sculptures so that the world admires them as a whole.

Tasoulas said that Baltas’ decision is defeatist and presumes that Greece will lose the case in international courts when in fact the country has a solid argument and international support in its favor. He further said that the defeatist attitude enhances the argument of the opposite side.

Author: A. Makris | Source: Greek Reporter [December 09, 2015]