As Brexit negotiations drag on, a sculpture known as the Parthenon Marbles which has been a subject of controversy between Greece and the UK has returned to the front burner, The Express reports.
The sculpture was taken to the UK from Greece in the early 19th century and the country wants to use its return as leverage on their Brexit negotiations.
Chairman of the International Parthenon Sculptures Action Committee, Alexis Mantheakis has joined calls for the Brexit process to be disrupted unless Britain agrees to the exchange.
He said, “The English will need to receive approval from the Greek Parliament for something they want.”
Mr Mantheakis added this is the first time Greece has been in a position to demand the marbles back.
Mantheakis’ call is in line with a similar suggestion made by Greek MEP Stelios Kouloglou.
Kouloglou, a member of the ruling left-wing Syriza party, claimed the EU’s treaty law means the highly controversial issue must be raised by the EU Brexit negotiators.
In the past, the MEP has written to the European Commission twice requesting that the world-famous marbles be included in the ongoing negotiations.
He wrote, “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 [than] a legal necessity.”
However, the EU has told Greece that issues relating to cultural preservation were the responsibility of member states.
Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said, “The Parthenon Marbles were removed long before this date, and the EU has no competence in the matter.”