Elgin Marbles set to LEAVE UK and return to Greece under new deal

George Osbourne: The Elgin Marbles could possibly be returned to Greece in a new deal
George Osbourne: The Elgin Marbles could possibly be returned to Greece in a new deal

Discussions are ongoing between the British Museum and Greece over the return of the Elgin Marbles

Published

Britain is set to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece after the British Museum held "constructive discussions" over a long term loan agreement.

British laws prevent antiquities from being given away by museums so the agreement would be a cultural exchange.

Former Chancellor, George Osbourne who is now the museum’s chairman, is thought to have arranged an agreement that would repatriate the marbles after 200 years.

The marbles have been housed in the British Museum for 200 years
The marbles have been housed in the British Museum for 200 years

The move from London to Athens could be “sooner rather than later” according to the Daily Telegraph.

Under the agreement objects would be lent to the British Museum in exchange for other ancient Greek treasures.

A British Museum spokesman said: “We’ve said publicly we’re actively seeking a new Parthenon partnership with our friends in Greece and, as we enter a new year, constructive discussions are ongoing.”

Last month, Osborne held talks with the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitostakis to mediate the return of the marbles.

He also met with two senior Greek ministers in London following his appointment as chairman and indicated last June he was prepared to shift from a hardline approach.

The former chancellor said there was a deal to be done over the marbles if Britain and Greece “approach this without a load of preconditions”.

The marble frieze was removed from the Parthenon in Athens in 1801-12 under the order of 7th Earl of Elgin.

Chairman at the British Museum, George Osbourne has held talks with Greece
Chairman at the British Museum, George Osbourne has held talks with Greece

He sold the marbles to the British government in 1816 and their ownership was transferred to the British Museum’s trustees.

The Greek government made their first formal request for the return of the marbles in 1983.

A total of 17 pedimental figures and more than 75 metres of the Parthenon frieze are housed at the British Museum.