On the occasion of the Tempo Forte Italy-Greece 2019 initiative, the Italian Embassy in Athens in collaboration with “The Smile of the Child” and “Telefono Azzurro” organized an event on Tuesday, 22nd of October, at the Italian Cultural Institute with main theme the cooperation between Greece and Italy on the protection of children through the actions and initiatives of the two Organizations.

The discussion was moderated by journalist Mr. Dimitris Deleolanis, whereas high level officials and representatives of the Hellenic Police, the Coast Guard, the Ministry of Citizen Protection, prosecutors, international non-governmental organizations and the academia took part to the event.

In the opening speech of the event the Ambassador of Italy to Greece, Mr. Efisio Luigi Marras, emphasized the importance of the longstanding and close cooperation between the two Organizations and, thus, between Italy and Greece, noting that addressing the risks and challenges for the well-being of children constitutes a priority for both countries.

“We are envisioning and developing a common strategy for all the complex issues of child protection. Problems are common in many countries and that is why we need to build an alliance in order to find common solutions. In this context, the Tempo Forte event has given us a good opportunity to discuss with our partner ‘The Smile of the Child’ on all these ways of working more closely together for the benefit of children’ noted the President of ‘Telefono Azzurro’ Professor Ernesto Caffo.

“Thanks to the Italian Embassy in Athens we have the opportunity today to highlight the long-standing, deep and effective cooperation with Telefono Azzurro. Together with Professor Caffo we have fought great battles in Greece, in Italy, in Europe and in the context of International Organizations. We are very pleased that today’s event marks the deepening of this cooperation’ said the President of the Board of Directors of ‘The Smile of the Child’, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos.

The discussion highlighted the urgent need for strong cooperation with the goal to ensure immediate mobilization within the first 24 hours in the cases of children at immediate risk. Emphasis was given on the vulnerability of children in migration, an issue of particular concern for countries and societies like Greece and Italy, first point of entry in the EU. Participants also focused on the risks for children within the digital environment such as cyberbullying.

During the Italian visit to Athens “The Smile of the Child” and “Telefono Azzurro” discussed the next steps to deepen their cooperation in a range of consistent and quality actions that both Organizations are implementing on the frontline, creating a tangible impact on the lives of children.

In support of this joint action, the two Organizations agreed to launch a strong bilateral cooperation to promote their common positions, ideas, and practices at the international fora of the EU, the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

“The Smile of the Child” and “Telefono Azzurro” are convinced that this enhanced bilateral cooperation will ensure a more immediate and effective international communication of the needs in both Greece and Italy on very topical and critical issues, such as child participation in the decision-making process, online safety and the fate of children in the context of migration.