The city of Serres in northeastern Greece, the second-largest city in the province of Macedonia after Thessaloniki, is to host the first-ever Balkans and Black Sea Forum (BBSF) on May 25-26.
The forum will be attended by EU officials, representatives of Balkan and Black Sea organisations and institutions, international organisations, diplomats, business leaders and members of the academic community, who will discuss a series of crucial issues at the forefront of international current affairs.
The organisation of the conference will be handled by Geo Routes Cultural Institute (GRCI), operating under the aegis and with the support of international organisations in Europe and the Black Sea regions – such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the European Banking Federation (EBF) and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) – acting in collaboration with the Serres Regional Section.
GRCI head Yiannis Balakakis noted that the forum is a new initiative that is starting in Greece and aims to boost cross-border cooperation and promote bilateral and multilateral relations, as well as economic ties and sustainable economic growth, between the 17 countries in the region.
The main theme of the 2017 BBSF will be “Cultural Tourism, a key to Sustainable Growth” in line with the UN resolution naming 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The forum will take place annually, at a different location each year, with tributes to two countries each year.
The Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) is a sponsor of the Balkans and Black Sea Cooperation Forum. The countries participating include Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.