Athens at the “helm” of the B40 Network of Balkan Cities for 2023

The Mayor of Athens welcomes 66 of his counterparts from ten countries at the Summit organized in Athens from January 22 – 24


K. Bakoyannis: “Athens wants and can significantly strengthen the Balkan cooperation. We move forward together, strengthen ties”

With a vision of charting the common path towards a future of stability and prosperity for the Balkans, Athens will host the Summit of the B40 Balkan Cities Network, during which the Greek capital will take the “helm” of the Presidency of the Network for 2023. From Sunday 22 to Tuesday 24 January, Athens, hosted by the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, will welcome Mayors from 66 cities from 10 Balkan countries, who are either already members of the Network, or are about to join during this Session.

The B40 Balkan Cities Network was established in November 2021 in Istanbul, with the aim of strengthening peace and democracy in the Balkan region, as well as the cooperation of its members in the fields of economy, innovation, sustainable development and culture.

The Mayor of Athens will receive the baton of the Presidency of the B40 Balkan Cities Network, from his counterpart, the Mayor of Constantinople, Ekrem Imamoglou, with whom they have built a strong “bridge” of cooperation in recent years in an effort to strengthen Greek-Turkish friendship and bring closer the two nations.

In his statement, Mr. Bakoyannis emphasized: “Athens takes over the presidency of the B40 network of the most important Balkan cities. The moment could not be more appropriate. The capital of Greece wants and can significantly strengthen the Balkan cooperation. Our city is becoming a metropolis of the modern world, developmentally, technologically, and not only that. It knows how to improve infrastructure and everyday life. We want to share this knowledge, mentality and method with the rest of the cities in the network. Let’s give and take. Let us all learn from the exchange and benefit from the cooperation. The B40 network is the cities’ dynamic response to what they see in the Balkans as fragmentation and competition. Every network means many bridges. Communication, exchange, cooperation. Cities come out ahead, where states seem stiff to cooperate. We move forward together, we strengthen ties, we will succeed.”

Mr. Bakoyiannis, during the opening speech of the summit, will refer to the vision of the Presidency of Athens for 2023. At the summit there will also be participation with speeches by Dario Nardella, President of the Eurocities Network and Mayor of Florence, as well as the Mayors of Istanbul, Tirana, Sofia, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Kotor, Avlonas, etc.

The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Mr. Vasco Alves Cordeiro, will also deliver a speech, as well as the Vice President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Mr. Vladimir Prebilic.

The representation of the Greek Municipalities will be very important, since in addition to the organizing city of Athens, the Mayors of the other 32 Municipalities of the country will take part in the summit: Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Trikala, Patras, Chalkida, Kalamata, Chania, Nikea. Ioannis Rentis, Kallithea, Nea Smyrni, Kifissia, Ag. Dimitrios, Aigaleo, Zografou, P. Faliro, Korydallos, Pallini, Veria, Kozani, Karditsa, Rethymnon, Corinthos, Mytilini, Chios, Corfu, Argos, Orestiada, Lefkada, Karpenisi, Pylaia-Hortiatis, Thermaikos, Kileler.

During the two-day Summit, all the actions and collaborations of the members of the B40 Network over the last year will be presented and the goals, strategy and priorities for the future will be discussed.

At the same time, working groups will be set up with the participation of city delegations and issues will be discussed related to local climate actions, migration asylum and local democracy, smart cities/digital transformation, but also economic and cultural cooperation between the cities.

* The work of the summit of the Network of Balkan Cities B40 will take place in the Technopolis of the Municipality of Athens.