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European Parliament calls for restitution overhaul

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to improve the legal framework for the cross-border restitution of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars.

On 17 January 2019, the parliament passed a resolution that proposes a pan-European metadatabase of looted art, funding for provenance research, the establishment of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and exemptions from statutes of limitations for Nazi-looted art claims. Other proposals include a “general obligation for art market professionals to maintain a transaction register”, provenance research training programmes and for adherence to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects. The resolution includes references to the illicit art market although admits that they do not have enough statistics.

The Parliament calls on the Commission and all the relevant competent authorities to adopt measures aimed at making both the art market and the potential buyers of artefacts aware of the importance of provenance research, given that such research is linked to the due diligence obligation.

The European Parliament can propose areas in need of action that the commission is required to review. The new resolution comes after a law, approved in 2018, introducing import licences for cultural goods to prevent looted art and artefacts trafficking.

CINOA will closely and proactively follow up this resolution.

For more information, see the official documents.

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