Athens at the helm of the B40 Balkan Cities Network

With the vision of charting a common path towards a future of stability and prosperity for the Balkans, Athens hosts the B40 Balkan Cities Network Summit, during which the Greek capital will take the helm of the Network for 2023. From Sunday, January 22 to Tuesday, January 24, the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, will welcome Mayors from 66 cities from 10 Balkan countries, either already members of the Network or about to join it during this Summit Meeting. The B40 Balkan Cities Network was established in November 2021 in Istanbul to strengthen peace and democracy in the Balkan region and the cooperation of its members in the fields of economy, innovation, sustainable development and culture. The Mayor of Athens will receive the presidential baton of the B40 Balkan Cities Network from his counterpart, the Mayor of Istanbul, EkremImamoglu, with whom he has built partnership bridges in recent years in an effort to strengthen the Greek-Turkish friendship and bring the two peoples together.

In a statement, Mr Bakoyannis stressed: “Athens is taking over the presidency of the B40 Network, a Network of the most important Balkan cities, at a rather critical point. The capital of Greece wants and has the ability to strengthen Balkan cooperation significantly. Our city has become a developed metropolis of the modern world with a lot of experience in technical matters. We know how to improve infrastructure and everyday life. We want to share this knowledge, mentality, and method with the other cities of the Network. Give and take. Let us all learn from the exchange and benefit from the cooperation. The B40 Network is the dynamic response of the cities to those who see fragmentation and competition in the Balkans. A network means building bridges, communicating, exchanging and cooperating. Cities take the lead in areas where state cooperation seems inflexible. Therefore, we move forward together, strengthen our ties, and succeed.” MrBakoyannis, during the opening speech of the Summit, will refer to the vision of the Athens Presidency for 2023. Speeches will also be given by Dario Nardelli, President of the Eurocities Network and Mayor of Florence, as well as the Mayors of Istanbul, Tirana, Sofia, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Kotor, Vlora, etc. The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Mr Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Mr Vladimir Prebilic, will also attend and take the floor during the Summit.

Greek Municipalities will also participate in the Summit since, in addition to the organizing city of Athens, Mayors from 32 other Municipalities of the country will be thereThessaloniki, Piraeus, Trikala, Patras, Chalkida, Kalamata, Chania, Nikaia-Ag. IoannisRentis, Kallithea, NeaSmyrni, Kifissia, Ag. Dimitrios, Egaleo, Zografou, P. Faliro, Korydallos, Pallini, Veria, Kozani, Karditsa, Rethymno, Corinth, Mytilene, Chios, Corfu, Argos, Orestiada, Lefkada, Karpenisi, Pylea-Chortiatis, Thermaikos, Kileler. During the two-day Summit, the B40 Network members will present all the actions and collaborations of the last year and discuss the objectives, strategy and priorities for the future. In parallel, working groups will be established with the participation of city delegations on issues related to local climate actions, asylum, migration and local democracy, smart cities/digital transformation, and economic and cultural cooperation between cities.

* The B40 Balkan Cities Network Athens Summit is hosted at the Technopolis City of Athens.

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