MPs greenlight controversial artifacts loan law at committee level
Πηγή Φωτογραφίας: artincontext- Archaeology Travel
An agreement between Greece and the United States for the loaning of a private collection of 161 Cycladic figurines was ratified at committee level in Parliament on Monday.
The Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs approved the bill on the strength of ruling New Democracy votes. Main opposition SYRIZA, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and MeRA25 voted against ratification, while PASOK-Movement for Change and Greek Solution said they will take a stance at the plenary level.
Once the agreement is ratified, a selection of 15 Cycladic figurines – dated between 3300 to 1100 BC – that are not already represented in Greek museums will arrive in Greece by October 15, expenses paid by the Met, and will be shown at the Cycladic Museum for a year, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni told the committee. The 161 figurines will be then loaned to the Met in January 2024 for 10 years, after which (in January 2034) they will start being returned to Greece in batches of 15 every five years. The loan agreement with the Met will conclude in January 2049, and the Greek state reserves the right to extend it.
The terms raised the objection of SYRIZA, which called for the draft agreement’s revocation. (Opposition parties argue that the agreement legitimizes the possession of Greek antiquities that were taken illegally from the country.) Mendoni criticized the opposition’s stance, saying that “the bill will bring back to Greece 161 antiquities that we did not know existed, were not registered at any ministry department, and therefore we would never have acquired or claimed.”
Responding to comments that the government could have launched proceedings for their repatriation, Mendoni said “why should Greece claim through the courts a collection that is being given to it.” She said that the agreement does not bar Greece from demanding other antiquities that may be found in other countries. Based on Greek law, the state is the only legal owner of Greek antiquities. According to Mendoni, however, “the law does not state that the Greek state is the sole owner, as ownership can be provided to others as well.”
The rare figurines were donated to the Institute of Ancient Greek Culture in Delaware, with the provision that they will be shown at the Metropolitan Museum before returning to Greece. Mendoni said the institute will promote Greece’s cultural heritage, and includes statutes that oblige it to observe Greek archaeological law and any actions be approved by the Greek Ministry of Culture. The ministry has not signed an agreement with a donor, but with the legal entity which received the donation, Mendoni insisted.
Any disagreements will be resolved at Greek courts, she said.
Διαβάστε όλες τις τελευταίες Ειδήσεις από την Ελλάδα και τον Κόσμο