Wednesday 21 December 2011

"People in Europe"

It is worth looking at one of the arguments used by US collectors to oppose the application of controls on the import into the US of Cypriot antiquities without documentation of legal export. Collectors over in the States moan that this is unfair because "Europeans" can (allegedly) freely buy antiquities removed from Cyprus without proper export paperwork. While it is possible to buy a Kalasnikov on the black market in Warsaw, that does not mean it is legal, nor that this should be an argument that Kalashnikovs should be freely available to anyone in downtown sports shops in Detroit. Neither are the sort of people selling these goods the sort of people that one would want to do business of any kind with.

I think these transatlantic naysayers are getting confused between different aspects of the European Union, it is not quite as simple as they imagine. The situation is neatly (?) depicted in the clickable diagram they could have found in Wikipedia. They possibly are confusing the antiquity trade with the Schengen agreement, and should note that Cyprus (and MOU applicant Bulgaria) are currently OUTSIDE "Schengen".

Schengen (blue), as-yet non-Schengen EU states (green) and insular EU states (grey on the left)

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