“Views like those of the British Museum’s director Hartwig Fischer, about a ‘legitimate owner’, are remnants of colonialism and ignore the international debate and the UNESCO declarations”, said in a statement Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba.

In an interview, the British Museum director admitted that “when you move a cultural heritage to a museum, you move it out of its context,” but argued that “this shift is also a creative act” and that ” the Museum will not return the Sculptures to Greece permanently”. He also excluded the possibility of “an open-ended loan” while he added that “when we lend, we lend to those who recognize the concept of property”.

“Greece is the birthplace of the Parthenon Sculptures, Athens is their city, the Acropolis and its Museum are their natural place. Mr. Fischer’s comments about a ‘legitimate owner’ exhibit a narrow and cynical managerial mindset. It is regrettable to hear this by the director of the British Museum and a well-known art historian. His remarks downgrade cultural heritage from an invaluable universal value to a mere exchange sale. Such views are diametrically opposed to the prevailing perceptions in the international field of culture. They are remnants of colonialism and ignore the international debate and UNESCO declarations, all the more when they involve a mutilated monument, a timeless symbol of Greece, which deserves to be reunified and restored according to the basic principle of ‘integrity’, as required by the 1972 UNESCO Convention,” added the Minister in her statement.