The European Union may include the issue of the unlawfully removed cultural objects, in particular Greek or Roman antiquities, in the discussions on the future relationship of the Union with the United Kingdom, in line with the updated draft EU negotiating mandate, leaked to the media today.
However, a UK government spokeswoman, commenting on the leaked draft document, said that the UK’s position on the Parthenon sculptures remains unchanged.”They are the legal responsibility of the British Museum.”
The updated EU negotiating mandate draft, which sets out Brussels’ goals and red lines, has also added an article calling on the parties to “address issues related to the repatriation or the return to the country of origin of unlawfully removed cultural objects.” This article was added at the request of Greece, with the support of Cyprus , Spain and Italy, as a European source said.
According to a diplomatic source, this has “nothing to do” with the Greek-British dispute over the Parthenon Sculptures, which are on display at the British Museum in London.
The purpose of this article is to ensure that stolen cultural property located on British soil due to fraudulent movement is automatically returned, the source said.
A European source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the article on unlawfully removed cultural objects had been added to an earlier version of the document last week.