First day of the State Visit to the Hellenic Republic
At the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Their Majesties the King and Queen of the Belgians will today begin a three-day visit to Greece, illustrating the deep ties of friendship between Belgium and Greece. This State Visit will highlight both Greece's cultural heritage and future technologies regarding archaeology, energy and digital transition. The Sovereigns are also keen to include a social component in the programme.
The Royal couple will be accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration, Public Enterprises, Telecommunication and Postal Services, Petra De Sutter, the Minister-President of Wallonia, Elio Di Rupo, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of Flanders, Jan Jambon, the Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Pierre-Yves Jeholet, and the Minister-President of the German-speaking Community, Oliver Paasch. The official delegation will include high-level political leaders as well as representatives of academic institutions and business leaders.
The State Visit will begin with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament, located in Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) in Athens. The Sovereigns will pay tribute to all those who sacrificed their lives for the Hellenic homeland.
The King and Queen will then be received by the President of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Katerina Sakellaropoulou and her partner. It is at this moment that the King will present the official Belgian delegation to the President. The meeting between the Sovereigns and the presidential couple will include a decoration ceremony and a private meeting.
The Sovereigns will then be received by the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his wife. The tête-à-tête will be followed by an extended meeting, without the presence of the Queen and the wife of the Greek Prime Minister, but with the entire Belgian ministerial delegation.
After the meeting with Prime Minister Mitsotakis, the King and the ministerial delegation will have a meeting with the Mayor of Athens, Mr Kostas Bakoyannis, who will give a brief presentation of the major challenges facing the city of Athens. There will also be a solemn ceremony where the Mayor will present a gold medal of the city of Athens to His Majesty the King. These high-level political contacts will be an opportunity to recall that Belgium and Greece are partners in the EU and NATO and that they have a common vision in the European and multilateral fields.
The Queen will visit The Smile of the Child, one of the largest Greek NGOs and active throughout the country in the field of child care and protection, including child health care, the fight against child poverty, the protection of children against violence and assistance in cases of missing children. For this last pillar it actively cooperates with Child Focus in Belgium.
The first day of the State Visit will end with the traditional State Dinner, hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic in honour of the King and Queen, featuring the speeches and toasts by the Heads of State.