BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A long-running dispute between Britain and Greece over ancient treasures has spilled into tensions over Brexit after a demand for the return of stolen cultural artefacts was added to the draft of a European Union negotiating mandate.
FILE PHOTO: The Parthenon Marbles, a collection of stone objects, inscriptions and sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are displayed at the British Museum in London October 16, 2014. Hollywood actor George Clooney’s new wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, made an impassioned plea on for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens, in what Greeks hope may inject new energy into their national campaign. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo
The British Museum in London has refused to return the Parthenon Marbles, 2,500-year-old sculptures that British diplomat Lord Elgin removed from Athens in the early 19th century when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish rule.
A draft of the 27 EU nations’ position on negotiations with Britain on their future relationship, which was seen by Reuters on Tuesday, seeks the “return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their countries of origin”.
The document did not specify any cultural objects.
However, an EU diplomat said the line was added at the request of Greece, with support from Italy.
Greece’s culture minister said last month that Athens would step up it