Greece is faced yet again with the possibility of defaulting on its massive debt. On Tuesday, the country’s culture ministry said that it may make some of its many archaeological sites open to advertising and other ventures. Doing so, says a report in Agence-France Presse, is meant to “facilitate” access to Greece’s many ruins, as well as to provide money to help with their upkeep and monitoring. The first site available will be one of the most famous, the Acropolis in the center of Athens.
The Acropolis overlooks Syntagma Square, where Greeks have been assembling to protest the austerity measures –wage cuts and tax increases, such as a tax on energy use — that the Greek government has had to push through, in order to receive bailout funds — 130 billion euro ($165.5 billion) in total – from the “troika” of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Greece is attempting to decrease its debt by 100 billion euros through 2014, by forcing bankers to take a 50 percent loss on new bonds received in a debt exchange. This “haircut” means that investors could lose up to 60 or 70 percent and is a huge and hard pill to swallow. Hedge fund managers have responded by saying that they may sue Greece in a human rights court to pay up on its debts, the New York Times reports. While such a tactic is “not… likely to produce sympathy for these funds, which many blame for the lack of progress so far in the negotiations over restructuring Greece’s debt,” legal experts say the hedge funds may have a case because property rights are human rights in Europe. The funds would be arguing in the European Court of Human Rights that bondholder rights have been violated.
Talks between the Greek government and private bondholders broke down last week and resumed this Wednesday. Greece has adopted a “more aggressive tone” towards its creditors under pressure from Germany, which has insisted that, with Greece’s debt comprising 140 percent of its GDP, it must be reduced as quickly as possible.
Archaeological Sites For Rent: Sacrilege?
Hence the culture ministry’s announcement (made via a December memo) to offer a professional photographic shoot of the Acropolis for as little as 1,600 euros a day ($2,046). Previously, Greece’s Central Council of Archaeology has been very resistant to granting access to the country’s archaeological treasures and archaeologists consider renting them out for commercial and such uses sacrilege.
Photo of the Acropolis seen through the third floor of the Acropolis Museum by the author.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.