Museum project ‘to go ahead’

While vowing to comply with any court decision on the legitimacy of the New Acropolis Museum project, the government yesterday said it would also do all it could to proceed with the building which Athens has inextricably linked to its bid to wrest back the British Museum’s Elgin Collection of Parthenon sculptures. On Saturday, Council of State sources said the supreme administrative court has rejected as illegal initial plans for the 94-million-euro glass and concrete structure the government has undertaken to erect in Makriyianni, on the southeastern fringes of the Acropolis. The court reportedly found that the plans allowed for significant antiquities to be destroyed without Culture Ministry approval. The decision will be published in a few weeks. The project is already 11 months behind schedule. Yesterday, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said once the ruling is published, «all fitting action will be taken to ensure that respect is shown for law and order and that the [museum] is built.» He criticized the leak to the press as «a heavy blow to the prestige of [Greek justice].»