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European Commission selects 100 cities for smart city initiative

The smart city and climate-neutral initiative will receive 360 million euros of Horizon Europe funding


The European Commission (EC) 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 commission noted that 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 program for the 2021-2027 period.

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.”

The Cities Mission will receive 360 million euros ($378.2 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 programs.

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.

Regarding the next steps of this initiative, the commission said that it 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.

Moreover, in light of the interest from 377 cities to join the mission, the Commission is also putting in place support for cities that were not selected.

Frans Timmermans, EVP of the European Commission 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.”

Cities had been initially invited to express their interest to become part of the Mission in November 2021. The call closed on January 31, 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.

The European Commission launched its mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 in September 2021.

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