The Greek cities of Thessaloniki, Kozani, Kalamata, and Ioannina were among the 23 in Europe that received the European Commission’s EU Mission Label “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” award in recognition of their plans to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

The EU Mission Label was awarded by Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth during a ceremony with mayors and city representatives at the EU Research & Innovation Days, the biggest forum in Europe to discuss the future of science and innovation and to co-create solutions with citizens and stakeholders

Apart from the four Greek cities that received the award, the other EU cities are Heidelberg (Germany), Leuven (Belgium), Espoo, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Turku (Finland), Barcelona, Seville (Spain), Pécs (Hungary), Malmö (Sweden), Guimarães, Lisbon (Portugal), Florence, Parma (Italy), Marseille, Lyon (France), Limassol (Cyprus), and Izmir (Turkey).

This recognition marks a significant milestone for the efforts of these cities. It acknowledges the successful development of Climate City Contracts, which outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality and include an action plan and an investment strategy. Moreover, cities co-create their climate contracts in collaboration with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens.

Cities account for more than 70% of global CO₂ emissions and consume over 65% of the world’s energy. Urban initiatives and actions are crucial for mitigating adverse climate effects and can contribute to accelerating the efforts to achieve the legally binding commitment for climate neutrality in the EU as a whole by 2050.

The EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, while the EU Cities Mission aims to help European cities become climate-neutral, offering cleaner air, safer transport, and less congestion and noise to their citizens.