Leading members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) met the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel on 2 July during a brief visit to Tel Aviv intended to strengthen cooperation. The CoR's delegation was met by Haim Bibas, president of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, and the mayors of two Israeli towns.
The meeting in Tel Aviv offered an opportunity for both delegations to identify issues on which both sides would be interested in intensifying contacts. Areas of interest highlighted by individual members included cooperation to advance the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, innovation, logistics, 'smart cities', and environmental services.
Ahead of the meeting, the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel nominated a representative to the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM). The assembly was established by the CoR in 2010 as a forum for political contact between local and regional leaders from all parts of the Mediterranean and the EU. Lizzy Delaricha, mayor of Ganei Tikval and chairman of the Federation's foreign-affairs committee, may attend ARLEM's next plenary session, in early 2020. At the meeting, the Federation invited the CoR to attend its annual conference early next year.
The meeting in Tel Aviv was attended by Lütfü Savaş, mayor of Hatay in Turkey, as well as by EU members of the ARLEM executive. They were: Karl-Heinz Lambertz (BE/PES), President of the CoR; Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), First Vice-President of the CoR and chairman of the board of Espoo municipality; Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP), president of the province of West Pomerania and leader of the presidents of Polish provinces; Juan Espadas Cejas (ES/PES), mayor of Seville; Vincenzo Bianco (IT/PES) of Catania and president of Associazione Nazionale Comuni Italiani; Jean-Francois Barnier (FR/ALDE), mayor of Chambon-Feugerolles in France; Paweł Grzybowski (PL/ECR), mayor of Rypin; and Uno Silberg (EE/ALDE) of Kose municipality.
Later, the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, provided an overview of EU cooperation with Israel.
Mr Giaufret spoke at a meeting between the EU delegation and two Israeli entrepreneurs recently named runners-up for a new ARLEM award for young businesspeople whose companies have benefited from cooperation with local government. Ido Levy's company SafeMode aims to reduce road deaths, while Hanan Lipskin and his company Keepers are pioneering efforts to protect children from cyber-bullying. The prize, which was awarded in February, was won by a Libyan fashion company.