berislav šipuš.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

The European Union needs a common policy on imports of cultural artefacts from war-torn areas, Croatian Culture Minister Berislav Sipus said in Brussels on Tuesday after a meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council.

EU culture ministers on Tuesday adopted conclusions on culture in external affairs, with a focus on culture in development cooperation. One of the important issues was the smuggling of works of art and the destruction of cultural heritage in war-affected parts of the world.

"At the proposal of Italy, all the countries supported a declaration to step up the efforts, including the sending of peace-keeping forces, to physically protect (cultural heritage) in war-affected areas. Our position is that it is important that the European Union adopt new legal standards and frameworks on the import into the EU of cultural objects from third countries that are affected by war. There is no common European policy on this, which prevents us from controlling what is going on and what is getting across the borders," Sipus said.

During the debate, important issues were raised as to where cultural objects were taken, how they were smuggled and where the money earned was going.

Terrorists, in particular members of the Islamic State group, have destroyed several important world cultural heritage sites in recent months, targeting civilian and religious buildings and archaeological sites belonging to the common heritage of humanity. In that way they destabilise populations and destroy their identity. The looting of archaeological sites and the illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts are used as an instrument of war to finance terrorist activities.

Latest news

Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom protections

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance about the use of school and university bathrooms by transgender students, local media reported.

Several Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested as deadline passes

Several people at a camp protesting against a controversial oil pipeline in the US state of North Dakota were arrested Wednesday after a deadline to vacate the land passed, local media reported.

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.