Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he is willing to allow ancient treasures to be exhibited in London in exchange for the Parthenon Marbles being returned to Athens for 2021.
In an exclusive interview with Britain’s Observer, published on Sunday, Mitsotakis said: “Our wish and ambition is to create the necessary conditions for Greek cultural heritage to travel the world and in so doing convey the great and essential contribution of our country to western civilization.”
“In this context, given the significance of 2021, I will propose to Boris [Johnson]: ‘As a first move, loan me the sculptures for a certain period of time and I will send you very important artefacts that have never left Greece to be exhibited in the British Museum’.”
The run-up to Greece’s bicentennial independence celebrations in 2021 offers an excellent opportunity for Athens to “step up its campaign to win back from the British Museum the Parthenon sculptures,” the newspaper says.
Mitsotakis added that Greece’s “demand for the return of the sculptures remains in place.” He warned Britain that is fighting a losing battle on the issue. “I don’t think [Britain] should be fighting a losing battle. Eventually this is going to be a losing battle. At the end of the day there is going to be mounting pressure on this issue.”
The Observer notes that last week France responded with unexpected enthusiasm to Mitsotakis’ request to return part of the Parthenon frieze to Greece. The classical carving is regarded by the Louvre as the most precious in its possession.
In a move that will almost certainly embarrass Britain, the paper says, the French promised to look into returning the priceless objects in return for the loan of unseen Greek bronzes to the Louvre.
“As part of the concept of [promoting] our common European culture, there needs to be more fluidity and more movement,” Mitsotakis said. “If it happens, and I think it will happen, its going to be a first small crack.”
Although the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is against the return of the Parthenon sculptures to Greece, he is also a great philhellene, as his classical studies and constant references to ancient Greek figures show.
In an academic event which took place at Central Hall in Westminster on November 19, 2015, comparing the contributions of Greece and Rome to human civilization, Johnson argued that the Greeks had been first in everything.
UK's new PM is a big fan of Ancient Greece. Will he govern with ethos though? And most importantly, will he give back the Parthenon Marbles that were stolen from the country he so admires? Full story: https://bit.ly/2Z2TCLI
Posted by Greek Reporter on Tuesday, July 23, 2019