Sun. May 29th, 2022
copenhagen, denmark, canal
Copenhagen is among th 100 smart cities aiming at climate neutrality. Photo by 12019 on Pixabay

Brussels, 28 April 2022

The Commission today announced the 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the so-called Cities Mission. The 100 cities come from all 27 Member States, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme (2021-2027).Our urban areas are home to 75% of EU citizens. Globally, urban areas consume over 65% of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70% of CO2 emissions. It is therefore important that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help all others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050.Ursula von der Leyen,President of the Commission, said: “The green transition is making its way all over Europe right now. But there’s always a need for trailblazers, who set themselves even higher goals. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future. We will support them on this! Let’s begin the work today.”The Cities Mission will receive €360 million of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, to start the innovation paths towards climate neutrality by 2030. The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes.

Benefits for cities include tailor-made advice and assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by NetZeroCities, additional funding and financing opportunities and the possibility to join large innovation actions and pilot projects. The Mission also provides networking opportunities, exchange of best practices between cities and support to engage citizens in the mission.

Next Steps

The Commission will invite the 100 selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans. This process will involve citizens, research organisations and the private sector. The clear and visible commitments made by the cities in the Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their own citizens to deliver on this ambitious objective.

Moreover, in light of the overwhelming interest from 377 cities to join the mission, the Commission is also putting in place support for cities that were not selected, including support through the Mission Platform and funding opportunities under the Cities Mission Work Programme of Horizon Europe.

Members of the College said
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, for the European Green Deal,said:

Cities are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis. Whether it’s greening urban spaces, tackling air pollution, reducing energy consumption in buildings, or advancing clean mobility solutions: cities are often the hub of the changes Europe needs to succeed in our transition to climate neutrality. My congratulations to the cities selected today, I look forward to the solutions you will develop to guide your inhabitants and businesses towards a greener future.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age,said:

“We need to speed up Europe’s transition to climate neutrality, to end our reliance on fossil fuels, and to deliver benefits such as cleaner air and lower energy bills for our citizens. It is great that so many cities will participate. We can support their ambition with our EU research and innovation budget. The Cities Mission has the potential to make a major contribution to our Green Deal and for Europe to become a climate neutral continent by 2050.” 

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

“Horizon Europe Missions have a great potential to deliver the European Green Deal objectives, including European energy security. The selected cities represent a first step covering a wide geographical footprint. We want that concrete benefits reach all our regions and citizens, through innovation, empowering large and small cities with different levels of experience and capacities. I encourage all cities to reach out and work with all stakeholders, including of course their citizens, to achieve together our ambitious goals.”

Adina Vălean, Commissioner for transport, said:

“In their quest to become smart and climate-neutral by 2030, the 100 EU cities announced today will be natural “test beds” for innovative integrated solutions to many of the issues facing our citizens today, including urban mobility. Drawing on our New Urban Mobility Framework, they have the tools to making interurban and urban mobility healthy and sustainable, for instance by doubling high-speed rail traffic and developing extra cycling infrastructure over the next 10 years, investing in safe bike lanes, and ensuring connectivity with rural and suburban areas so that commuters are given sustainable mobility options. I am sure they will succeed, and I encourage other cities across Europe to follow their lead.”

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said:

“The Mission for climate-neutral and smart cities will help us deliver our environmental commitments on zero pollution, biodiversity and circular economy. Many of the selected cities have already shown their environmental credentials in our Green Capital, Green Leaf and Green City Accord initiatives by tackling air, noise and waste issues. These cities’ ambitions for climate and innovation, as well as the Mission’s wider research funding, will help make urban living greener, cleaner and healthier for European citizens.”

Background
Cities were invited to express their interest to become part of the Mission in November 2021. The call closed on 31 January 2022. In a first step, independent experts evaluated each expression of interest. In a second step, the Commission applied additional criteria to ensure a geographical balance and a diverse group of cities in terms of size, impact and innovative ideas. Overall, 377 cities applied to be part of the cities mission. The 100 EU Cities chosen today represent 12% of the EU population.The Commission launched the Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 in September 2021 with the adoption of a Communication on EU missions. This following the approval of the missions’ individual implementation plans in summer 2021. As well as the Cities Mission, there are four other EU missions covering global challenges in the areas of adaptation to climate change, restoring our ocean and waters, healthy soils and cancer. A dedicated Work Programme for Horizon Europe Missions was published on 15 December 2021.Missions are a novelty of Horizon Europe and support Commission priorities, such as the European Green DealEurope fit for the Digital AgeEurope’s Beating Cancer PlanAn economy that works for people and the New European Bauhaus. For instance, Mission Climate is already a concrete element of the new Climate Adaptation Strategy, Mission Cancer of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the Mission Soil is a flagship initiative of the Long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas.

More Information

Factsheet ‘EU Cities Mission: Meet the Cities’

Q&A

Video

100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030


 

Questions & Answers: Selection of 100 Cities for the EU Mission “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

Brussels, 28 April 2022

1. What is the Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities?
The Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities “Cities Mission” is one of five EU Missions, a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027. They are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. Working towards ambitious goals, they are expected to deliver tangible results by 2030.The Cities Mission will involve local authorities, citizens, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities to:

  • Deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030;
  • Ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.
2. How were the selected cities chosen?

The Commission launched a Call for Expression of Interest addressed to cities, open between 25 November 2021 and 31 January 2022. This call allowed cities to state their interest in becoming climate-neutral by 2030 as part of the Mission and to submit information on their current situation, ongoing work, and plans on climate neutrality. The Commission applied a rigorous procedure to select cities in an objective and fair manner. 377 cities from all EU Member States as well as nine associated or potentially associated countries submitted an expression of interest. 362 of them were found to be eligible.

Firstly, independent experts evaluated each expression of interest. Secondly, the Commission used additional criteria to ensure geographical balance as well as balance in terms of city characteristics. Various cities were chosen: some “front-running” cities; some larger cities with the potential to have a stronger impact in terms of climate neutrality; some cities with innovative ideas on how to deliver the digital or smart dimension of the mission, etc. This diversity is essential to pave the way for all cities to be climate neutral by 2050.
3. What are the next steps for the selected cities?
The most important elements of this Mission are the Climate City Contracts, which are to be drawn up, signed and implemented by each participating city. They should set out action plans for the city to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 and include an investment plan. While not legally binding, these contracts will constitute a clear and highly visible political commitment to the EU, national and regional authorities and citizens.Climate City Contracts will be co-created with local partners and citizens, with the help of a Mission Platform run by the project NetZeroCities. The Mission Platform will provide the necessary technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities.The selected cities will be contacted by the Mission Platform following the public announcement of the list of cities with practical information about the next steps. A first webinar for participating cities will be organised in the coming days.
4. What is the budget allocated for this?
In total, Horizon Europe will invest €360 million in the Mission Platform and in research and innovation actions linked to the Mission (e.g. in mobility, energy, urban planning) in the period 2021-23. A first full work programme was published in December 2021. However, this can only be seed funding, and the Commission will work to help mobilise additional funding and financing from public and private sources.
5. Why limit the support of the Mission to 100 cities when so many more applied?
The Mission’s approach is based on individual and tailor-made support to cities, based on their specific needs. The budget limits the number of cities at this stage.However, the Cities Mission and the Mission Platform also plan to ensure that a number of services will be available to a much larger group of cities, including those that have expressed their interest and were not selected, such as twinning and teaming, web-based assistance, webinars. We will also look at what more can be done, including through Horizon Europe projects, based on the needs identified in cities’ expressions of interest.
6. What will happen to the cities, which submitted an expression of interest to join the Mission but were not selected?
Cities that were not selected were informed by the Commission. The Commission is still committed to work with them and to help them fulfil their objectives. They have been informed of the possibilities to remain connected and work with the Cities Mission, including:

  • Services from the Mission Platform: the Mission Platform can already offer services to the group of cities that want to work on climate neutrality with a 2030 timescale, but that were not selected in the call, and the Commission is considering dedicating additional resources for this purpose through forthcoming calls under Horizon Europe.
  • National networks: in some countries, national networks are already being formed in support of applicant cities. A number of countries have announced or are planning to announce that they are intending to support a wider group of cities, whether or not they are selected, including in several cases with financial assistance.
  • Local/regional efforts: on top of these national networks, the Commission is going to encourage the development of regional networks and “clusters” or “teams” of cities to be formed to work together on climate neutrality.
  • R&I projects under the Cities Mission Work Programme of Horizon Europe: calls are open to all cities that commit to the objectives of the Cities Mission and cities may find interesting opportunities to get involved in such projects.
7. Why were additional 12 cities from non-EU countries chosen?
The Call for Expression of Interest was open to EU cities as well as to cities from countries associated to Horizon Europe and to countries with the potential of becoming associated.  Given the strength of the interest from the EU side alone, 100 EU cities were invited to join the programme, but an additional 12 cities were chosen based on the same criteria as applied for the selection of EU cities. Cities from Associated Countries will be treated the same as EU cities, but of course will not have the same access to other EU funds such as Cohesion Funds.
8. How will national and regional authorities be involved in the implementation of the Mission?
The role of national and regional authorities will be key in the implementation of the Mission. National networks already exist in some countries, and the Commission is working closely with Member States to develop these networks further and to encourage the establishment of similar networks in countries where they do not exist yet.We are also urging cities, national and regional authorities to work together in the co-creation process leading to each city’s Climate City Contract.  National and regional authorities have a key role to play for example in providing financial and regulatory support.
9. What happens if cities do not meet the climate neutrality target?
The Climate City Contracts will not be legally binding. There will be no legal consequences. That said, the contracts will be a very visible commitment that the mayor or political representative of the city will have made towards their national authorities, the Commission and towards the city’s inhabitants.
10. What links are there with other EU programmes or other Missions?
The Cities Mission is not seeking to replace any other initiative targeted at cities, but to build on what is already there. If a city already has a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) in line with the methodology of the Covenant of Mayors or a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), its Climate City Contract should build on that.  The Mission will continue to work closely with existing EU programmes such as the Covenant of Mayors and the European Climate Pact.Synergies with other Missions will be very important, in particular with the Mission on Climate Adaptation and the Mission on Oceans.The direct involvement of citizens in the European Climate Pact as drivers of change and ambassadors for climate neutrality will help the Mission bring citizens closer to the design, implementation and monitoring of mission activities.The Mission also contributes to the objectives of the new EU Cohesion Policy and particularly to the policy objective of “a greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe by promoting clean and fair energy transition, green and blue investment, the circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, risk prevention and management, and sustainable urban mobility”. The European Urban Initiative (EUI), which is sought to provide coherent support to cities supporting urban innovation, capacity and knowledge building, territorial impact assessments, policy development and communication, offers many possibilities for synergies.

For More Information
Factsheet ‘EU Cities Mission: Meet the Cities’Press release on the EU Cities MissionVideo100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030