Commission launches competition to find Europe’s greenest cities

Will your city be the next European Green Capital or European Green Leaf winner? The European Commission launched this year’s competitions to reward sustainable European Cities.

The European Commission launched the competition for 2023 European Green Capital (EGCA 2023) and the 2022 European Green Leaf (EGLA 2022) Awards, recognising cities that are genuinely committed to becoming more sustainable.

This year, the financial prize for both Awards will be significantly increased to a combined one million euro, aimed at supporting cities in putting in place urban sustainability measures. The EGCA 2023 winning city will receive €600 000, while up to two EGLA 2022 winning towns/cities will receive €200 000 each. This increased financial prize reflects the importance of cities for delivering on the objectives of the European Green Deal, including the recently adopted Communication: EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “Sustainability is not a luxury, it is a necessity. In these difficult times,when a number of European cities are facing economic and social challenges, we wantto help them in realising their sustainability vision. Past winners have shown that it isperfectly possible to live in a cleaner, greener environment and protect citizens’ healthwhile having a thriving economy. I encourage all cities in Europe to follow the GreenCapital and Green Leaf path of urban sustainability.”

Winning the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards is a seal of approval by the European Commission and brings many benefits: increased international media coverage, a boost in local pride, a greater focus on environmental projects, and increased foreign investment. All finalist and winning cities also gain access to a network of previous finalists and winning cities where they share learnings on how to overcome key challenges.

With the increased financial prize, the winning cities are expected to take on additional responsibilities, such as committing to tangible projects or actions to enhance their city’s environmental sustainability.

The annual European Green Capital Award is open to cities with a population of over 100 000 inhabitants. The European Green Leaf Award is for towns/cities with a population of 20 000 to 99 999 inhabitants. A maximum of two cities can win the European Green Leaf each year.

Further information on the Rules of Contest and how to apply is available at the official Awards portal (https://www.egcaeglaportal.eu/).

Background

Since 2008, the European Green Capital Awards have been rewarding and highlighting the achievements of Europe’s greenest cities – those that are making our urban environments better and healthier places to live. With more than two thirds of Europe’s population living in urban areas, these Awards play a vital role in informing and inspiring other cities and towns, that strive for urban sustainability and eco-innovation towards implementing the European Green Deal.

Each year, a panel of independent urban sustainability experts assesses the performance of the competing cities against 12 environmental indicators and selects finalists, to present to an international Jury.

To date, 12 cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since the initiative began in 2010. Stockholm, Sweden, won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg, Germany (2011); Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2012); Nantes, France (2013); Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); Bristol, UK (2015); Ljubljana, Slovenia (2016); Essen, Germany (2017); Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2018); Oslo, Norway (2019); Lisbon, Portugal (2020); and Lahti, Finland (2021).

Following the success of the European Green Capital Award, the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) was established in 2015 to recognise the environmental efforts and achievements of smaller towns and cities (20 000 – 99 999 inhabitants). The same panel of 12 independent urban sustainability experts assesses the applications received based on six environmental topic areas and selects finalists. To date, nine cities have been awarded the title of European Green Leaf: Mollet del Vallès, Spain (2015); Torres Vedras, Portugal (2015); Galway, Ireland (2017); Leuven, Belgium (2018); Växjö, Sweden (2018); Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain (2019); Horst aan de Maas, The Netherlands (2019); Limerick, Ireland (2020); and Mechelen, Belgium (2020).

For more information:

Websites: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital
& http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/europeangreenleaf/

Twitter: @EU_GreenCapital

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EuropeanGreenCapitalAward

LinkedIn: European Green Capital Award

EU Policy on Urban Environment: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/urban/index_en.htm