Monday, 18 January 2016

German culture commissioner Monika Grütters on Fighting the Illicit Antiquities Trade

Monika Grütters, art historian and German federal government commissioner for culture and the media  is pushing for stricter regulations on artefacts entering Germany ('German culture commissioner Monika Grütters: Fight ISIS by preventing illegal artifacts trade   DW 13.01.2016 ). While the headline concentrates on ISIL, the concerns behind these new moves are much broader:
"Of course, it's difficult to limit organized crime solely through legislation," Grütters told DW. "But we can do one thing primarily: we know that stolen artifacts from other countries are still finding their way into Germany as well, and to at least prevent looted artifacts from coming into the country or being traded here, we would like to see stricter regulations on imported goods than was previously the case," Grütters noted. The culture commissioner noted that while UNESCO has had a convention for internal conservation in place since 1970, Germany had not joined the convention until 2007, when it ratified it.  But Germany is now witnessing a paradigm shift concerning tighter regulations on cultural goods, she added. "In the future, only goods that have proper documentation from the countries of origin will be able to enter Germany," Grütters said. "Until now, that has not been necessary, and now Germany is at least in the process of implementing these import regulations in a new way. That's a paradigm shift, and as such, we're catching up with international standards," she added. 
A cleaner and more transparent German market will make life easier for responsible dealers and collectors, so it is really difficult to understand why there is loud opposition to such moves from them - or is it? Your guess is as good as mine, dear reader.

Here's a video to watch:

Grütters: 'We must act against this trade'  

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