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The European Green Capital Award is an award for a European city based on its environmental record. The award was launched on 22nd May 2008 and the first award was given to Stockholm for the year 2010.

One of the policy tools the European Commission is using to address these challenges is the European Green Capital Award (EGCA), which recognises and rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy, and the quality of life in cities. The EGCA is given each year to a city, which is leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living and which can thus act as a role-model to inspire other cities. Cities differ enormously and sharing concrete examples of what a European Green Capital can look like is essential if further progress is to be made.

Starting in 2010, one European city is selected each year as the European Green Capital of the year. The award is given to a city that:

  • Has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards;
  • Is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development;
  • Can act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities.

 All cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants can be a candidate for European Green Capital.

The award is open to EU Member States, EU Candidate Countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. In countries where there is no city with more than 100,000 inhabitants, the largest city is eligible to apply. Where applicable, cities may apply for either the EGCA or EGL, but not both, in any given year.

Entries are assessed on the basis of 12 indicators: local contribution to global climate change, transport, green urban areas, noise, waste production and management, nature and biodiversity, air, water consumption, wastewater treatment, eco-innovation and sustainable employment, environmental management of the local authority, and energy performance.

Following the success of the European Green Capital Award (EGCA), many smaller cities sought EU recognition for their efforts and commitment in the areas of sustainability & environment. In response, the European Commission launched a pilot European Green Leaf (EGL) initiative in 2015. The European Green Leaf competition aims at cities between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants recognizing their commitment to better environmental outcomes, with a particular accent on efforts generating green growth and new jobs.

The objectives of the European Green Leaf are threefold:

  • To recognise cities that demonstrate a good environmental record and commitment to generating green growth;
  • To encourage cities to actively develop citizens’ environmental awareness and involvement;
  • To identify cities able to act as  ‘green ambassadors’ and to encourage other cities to progress towards better sustainability outcomes.

Over recent weeks, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has brought unprecedented challenges to all of us. Saving lives and protecting Europeans from the coronavirus is the European Commission’s number one priority and together we learn from each other and help our European Union out of this crisis.

In light of the current situation, the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards competitions’ timeline has been adapted as follows:

Change of Dates for EGCA 2022 and EGLA 2021

  • 7th May 2020: Announcement of Finalists
  • September / October 2020: Jury Meetings and Awards Ceremony in Lisbon

Call for Applications for EGCA 2023 and EGLA 2022

  • 28th May 2020: Launch of Call for Applications for EGCA 2023 and EGLA 2022
  • TBC July 2020: Applicant Workshop for European Green Capital 2023
  • 28th October 2020: Closing date for applications

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