Whilst in Athens for the 2022 Summit of Mayors against Antisemitism the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Leendert Verbeek, conducted a series of meetings with the Greek authorities. The President met with Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Kostas Bakoyannis, the Mayor of Athens, as well as with Georgios Patoulis, the Vice-President of the Association of Greek Regions and governor of the Attica region and Dimitrios Papastergiou, the President of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities.
Leendert Verbeek was accompanied by the Head of the Greek delegation, Konstantinos Koukas, Vice-president of the Chamber of Local Authorities and thematic spokesperson for the South Mediterranean Partnership.
In these dialogues, the President and the various Greek authorities discussed the importance of the local and regional dimension of the work of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in order to obtain tangible results closer to the citizens. They also referred to the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government on the future of the Council of Europe, to be held in May 2023 in Reykjavik, as an historic opportunity to renew democracy and strengthen human rights on the European continent.
President Verbeek welcomed the active participation of the members of the Greek delegation in the work of the Congress. He called on the Greek authorities to extend the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and, in particular, to ratify its Additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority.
As part of the 2022 Summit of Mayors Against Antisemitism, President Verbeek also held meetings with Robert Singer, President of the Centre for Jewish Impact and several mayors attending the Summit including the mayors of Athens and New York. In these meetings, participants shared their experiences in combating antisemitism and other forms of hatred and discussed the development of new approaches to dealing with these issues.