The Council of State (CoS) plenary officially published on Wednesday its approval of the removal, transfer and new placement of antiquities found during excavations for the Venizelos stop on the Thessaloniki metro under construction.
The decision by Greece’s highest administrative court had been announced by the Ministry of Culture as early as April 19, but the publication puts an end to a controversial issue that has raised protests by several groups, including archaeologists, and led to three injunctions filed at the court for cancellation of ministry plans.
Plans to remove the antiquities and restore them to the station site after the construction works are completed are constitutional, legal and in line with international agreements, the CoS said, although the plenary approved the plans with a slim majority.
“The CoS decision fully justifies the practice of the Ministry of Culture & Sports in terms of the protection and showcasing of the significant antiquities at Venizelos station, and in terms of the need to complete the Thessaloniki metro,” Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni said following the publication.
Citing the international treaties of Granada, Valetta and UNESCO, Mendoni said that “the antiquities at Venizelos stop will be showcased based on principles of science and ethical practices, and will be turned over to the residents of Thessaloniki following the completion of the metro project.”