Parthenon’s marbles are taken before 1993, so there is no… news about their return to Greece. Stelios Kouloglou, the member of the European Parliament, has asked the Commission if this case would be somehow infected by Brexit talks.
MEP’s question was the following
“In response to a previous similar question, the Commission had answered that the EU has no authority to intervene in the preservation of the cultural heritage of Member States. However, Articles 3, 50 and 167 TFEU taken together provide that the Brexit negotiators must take into account the need to protect European cultural heritage. The Parthenon Marbles are considered as the greatest symbol of European culture. Therefore, reuniting the Marbles would be both a sign of respect and civilised relationship between Great Britain and the EU, and much more a legal necessity.
In view of this:
1.Will the Commission meet its legal obligation as deriving from the combination of Articles 3, 50 and 167 TFEU, and request the return of the Parthenon Marbles before Great Britain exits the EU?
2.Does the Commission believe that Directive 93/7/EEC, only applicable to the return of unlawfully removed objects since 1993, protects our cultural heritage sufficiently?
3.Will the Commission take binding action to fill this legal gap?”
“The Commission regards the safeguarding of cultural heritage sites with a high importance. However, in accordance with Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, action by the European Union is limited to encouraging cooperation between Member States and supporting and supplementing their action, inter alia, with a view to conserving and safeguarding cultural heritage of European significance”, answered on behalf of the Commission, Mr. Navracsics.
“The directive 2014/60/EU of 15 May 2014, which is a recast of Directive 93/7/EEC, represents an important instrument to help Member States to protect their cultural heritage. The directive introduces some important new elements, for example it covers all cultural objects identified as ‘national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value’ under national legislation. As was the case with Directive 93/7/EEC, the new Directive provides for cooperation mechanisms and return proceedings against the possessor to secure the return of a cultural object unlawfully removed from the territory of one EU country to the territory of another EU country on, or after, 1 January 1993”, continued.
“Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 on the export of cultural goods provides guarantees insofar as it subjects the export to the presentation of an export licence obtained by the competent authorities in the Member States. Neither of those Directives can however be applied in this instance as the Parthenon Marbles were removed during the first part of the 19th century. Directive 2014/60/EU is of application as from 18 December 2015. At the moment, there are no plans for further revisions”, Commissioner Navracsics concluded…/IBNA
Photo: GUE/NGL/ Flickr