The Prime Minister of Britain seems to be in a panic lately. Nothing is going well for him. No matter what he does, his popularity remains low. Even bringing back a former Prime Minister, David Cameron, as Foreign Secretary was in vain.
On the contrary, the Labour Party has gained momentum that could bring them back to power for the first time since 2010.
Therefore, I would say this is the essence of the rude cancellation at the last minute of his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister (which is also an insult to the Greek people). He wanted to demonstrate determination. To prove his patriotism to the British. Maybe, finally, this might help him in the polls.
Let’s look at the facts:
Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, called “grandstanding” the fact that Mitsotakis gave an interview to the BBC, in which he presented, with more advanced arguments, Greece’s position in favor of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their rightful place at the Acropolis Museum.
What could be more expected than this? Was it possible for him not to speak about this national issue?
And of course, it’s not the first time the Greek Prime Minister has spoken about the Marbles in the British media.
Was it possible for him not to discuss this matter with Sunak?
Not discussing it would have been a dereliction of his duty to the nation.
Wouldn’t Sunak have done the same if he were in Mitsotakis’ place?
Therefore, this argument doesn’t convince.
What probably bothered him was the fact that Mitsotakis met first with the leader of the opposition and then was planning on meeting with him. I don’t believe the Greek side did this to belittle him. It was probably a matter of scheduling the Greek Prime Minister’s time during his stay in London.
However, in the discussion that took place in the British Parliament between the Prime Minister and the Labour leader, the lines were drawn. In one of the most successful jabs at Sunak’s expense, Keir Starmer said: “Never mind the British Museum, it’s the prime minister who has obviously lost his marbles!”
The inability to justify what happened was evident from Sunak’s statement that “when it was clear that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss substantive issues of the future but rather to grandstand and relitigate issues of the past, it was inappropriate.”
There, he accused Mitsotakis of grandstanding. Obviously, he judges others by his own standards.
Athens seems not to desire worsening its relationship with London, so the government is avoiding further statements. Everyone understands that, but can this episode pass without any response?
Why not summon the Greek ambassador in London to return to Athens for ‘consultations’ for a while?
Anyway, because of this incident, the issue of the Marbles has come to the surface in a striking way. Never before has there been such publicity for this issue as now.
Of course, no British Prime Minister will dare to return them to their rightful place for quite some time… However, there is no doubt that it will happen someday.