European cities to receive the EU Mission Label for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

The European Commission has awarded ten cities with the EU Mission Label as part of the NetZeroCities programme lead by EIT Climate-KIC. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises cities’ plans (Climate City Contracts) to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding for this goal. 

The cities that have received the label are Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain), Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden).

“The first Mission Cities to secure the Mission Label is a milestone on their way to climate neutrality. We all know how big the challenge is and this key step is a sign of progress and momentum. The EU Mission Label has the power to significantly accelerate the climate transition journey for European Cities and unlock their potential,” says Thomas Osdoba, Director of the Mission Platform, NetZeroCities.

The European Commission assessed the Climate City Contracts cities submitted to NetZeroCities earlier this year. The Contracts outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality and include an action plan as well as an investment strategy. Cities create their Climate City Contracts together with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. The Contracts are an innovative governance tool that builds on existing knowledge, resources and experience to help seize opportunities to reduce emissions more rapidly and overcome key barriers (financial, structural, governance, social and more) they face in achieving their climate goals.

The first group of cities submitted their Climate City Contracts in April 2023. They were then reviewed by the EU Commission with the support of experts from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), among others. Following a positive review, successful cities receive the EU Mission Label to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, as well as private investment.

The EU Commission and the Mission Platform – currently managed by the NetZeroCities programme – will continue to support the effective implementation of the Climate City Contracts. Cities that have received the EU Mission Label can now use it as a vote of confidence in their climate neutrality plans, especially when approaching public and private funders.

The Commission will continue to support cities through the Mission Platform with hands-on advice and funding programmes, such as a €32 million Pilot Cities Programme combined with a Twinning Programme. A second call for Pilot Cities Programme is currently open until 6 November, with a budget of €20 million.

Many other Mission Cities should soon follow suit, as they are developing their own Climate City Contracts. Together, they are leading the way and inspiring other cities and other levels of government and institutions.

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