Cities Mission, the EU plan to make 100 of its cities climate neutral by 2030

Elizabeth Smith

The European Commission has announced the 100 EU cities which will participate in the EU Mission “100 smart and climate neutral cities by 2030,” or “Cities Mission.”

Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President, said, “By now, the green transition has begun across Europe, but there is always a need for pioneers who set even more ambitious goals. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future and they can count on all our support. Let’s get to work right away.”

With this Mission, the EU wishes to contribute to what is envisioned in the European Green Deal, which points the way forward to achieve a profound transformation.

The “100 Smart and Climate Neutral Cities” Mission

European cities were invited to express their interest in participating in this Mission in November 2021, noting that the deadline for applications was January 31, 2022.

In a first step, each expression of interest was evaluated by independent experts. Subsequently, the Commission applied additional criteria to ensure equitable geographic distribution and select a diverse group of cities in terms of size, impact and innovative ideas.

377 cities applied to participate in the Mission. The 100 cities selected represent 12 percent of the EU population.

This Mission will receive €360 million in funding from Horizon Europe, for the period 2022-2023, designed to start innovation pathways to climate neutrality by 2030.

Indeed, all 27 member states have made a commitment to make the EU the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To achieve this goal, they have committed to reducing emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

This will create new opportunities for innovation and jobs, making Europe attractive for business investment, having taken the lead in digital and climate innovation.

Research and innovation actions will cover:

  • clean mobility;

  • energy efficiency;

  • offering opportunities for joint initiatives and enhancing collaborations in synergy with other EU programs.

EU Cities Mission, the cities selected

Here is the list of the cities that will take part in the “100 Smart and Climate Neutral Cities” Mission

  • Portugal: Guimarães, Lisbon, Porto
  • Spain: Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Zaragoza
  • Ireland: Cork, Dublin
  • France: Angers, Loire Metropole, Bordeaux Metropole, Dijon Metropole, Dunkirk, Grenoble-Alpes Metropole, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes Metropole, Paris
  • Denmark: Aarhus, Copenhagen, Sønderborg
  • Holland: Amsterdam, Eindhoven & Helmond, Groningen, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht
  • Belgium: Antwerp, Brussels Capital Region, La Louvière, Leuven
  • Germany: Aachen, Dortmund, Dresden, Frankfurt/Main, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Münster
  • Luxembourg: Differdange
  • Austria: Klagenfurt
  • Italy: Bergamo, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Padua, Parma, Prato, Rome, Turin
  • Sweden: Gävle, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm, Umeå
  • Croatia: Zagrabia
  • Slovenia: Kranj, Ljubljana, Velenje
  • Malta: Gozo
  • Finland: Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Turku
  • Estonia: Tartu
  • Latvia: Liepāja, Riga
  • Lithuania: Taurage, Vilnius
  • Poland: Krakow, Łódź, Rzeszow, Warsaw, Wrocław
  • Czech Republic: Liberec
  • Slovakia: Bratislava, Košice
  • Hungary: Budapest, Miskolc, Pécs
  • Cyprus: Limassol
  • Bulgaria: Gabrovo, Sofia
  • Romania: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Suceava
  • Greece: Athens, Ioannina, Kalamata, Kozani, Thessaloniki, Trikala

To these are added 12 more cities belonging to countries associated or likely to associate with Horizon Europe. Specifically:

  • Albania: Elbasan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo
  • Iceland: Reykjavík
  • Israel: Eilat
  • Montenegro: Podgorica
  • Norway: Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim
  • Turkey: Istanbul, Izmir
  • United Kingdom: Bristol, Glasgow

The next steps to achieve the EU Cities Mission

The Commission will invite the 100 selected cities to draw up “citizen climate contracts” and investment plans, which will include a comprehensive plan for climate neutrality in all sectors, from energy to buildings, from waste management to transportation.

Based on the clear and tangible commitments made by cities in “citizen climate contracts,” it will be possible to open a dialogue with the citizens themselves, and with European, national and regional authorities.

In addition, since as many as 377 cities have shown interest in joining the Mission, the Commission is also preparing support for those that were not selected, including through the Mission’s platform, Net Zero Cities.

Read also: EU plans to stop plastic packaging: only recycling and reuse allowed

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