With the inauguration of the new Acropolis Museum, increased international pressure is being exerted upon the British government to return the "Elgin Marbles." These works of art appropriated from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin, a British diplomat, in the 19th century and housed in the British Museum have been an increasing source of friction between Greece and the UK.
At the museum's public opening yesterday, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso and UNESCO's Director-General Koichiro Matsuura issued a press release condemning British refusal to return the sculptures. The PM of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, also tried to express his solidarity with his Aegean neighbor, but for fear of making another embarrassing global spectacle, was kidnapped by the UN Secret Polizei and, according to anonymous sources, was sequestered in Madagascar where it is hoped he will be sold to Somali pirates.
In the meantime, former British PM, Tony Blair, has announced his agreement with the Grecian government and will support the return of the sculptures to Athens. In his press release issued today at his villa in Martinique, he said, "The days of British colonialism are dead. It is time to return foreign property to its rightful owners. And I believe our present government should accede to Greece's wishes once their government pays the £ 609,987,078,897 in storage fees."