The European Commission announced that it has selected 100 cities for participation in Cities Mission program to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. The cities will receive €360 million over the next 2 years to kick start the initiative with research and innovation address areas including clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning.

The initiative is one of the EU Missions under Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95 billion funding programme for research and innovation aimed at tackling climate change, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth. In addition to delivering 100 climate neutral cities by 2030, the Cities Mission’s aim is to ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.

Addressing the climate impact of cities forms a major step in achieving the European Green Deal goal to achieve a climate neutral EU by 2050. Despite taking up only 4% of the EU’s land area, cities are home to 75% of EU citizens. Cities globally consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.

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.

The Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 was launched in September, with cities invited to express their interest in participating in November. According to the Commission, 377 cities applied to be part of the cities mission.

The 100 cities selected come from all 27 EU member states, and include a broad mix of small, medium and large cities, with various levels of climate transition preparedness. The program also includes 12 cities from associated countries, including the UK, Turkey, Israel and Norway.

Each of the selected cities will draw up Climate City Contracts setting out their climate neutrality plans, including a climate action plan and investment strategy, covering sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport. The cities will also receive tailor-made advice, additional funding and financing opportunities, along with opportunities to join large innovation actions, pilot projects and demonstrations and other networking initiatives.

Given the strong level of interest from other cities to join the mission, the Commission stated that it is putting in place support for cities that were not selected, including support through the Mission Platform and other funding opportunities.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen 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.”

Click here to see the list of cities selected for the Cities Mission.