On Monday 13 June, the representatives of the 100 European cities selected to participate in the European Mission “100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030” met for the first time in real life in Brussels.

This meeting, officially kicked off the cities journey towards climate neutrality under the NetZeroCities programme.

Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, congratulated the selected cities and stressed that they are at the forefront of climate action in Europe and that the European Commission will support them in this challenge. The meeting was attended by representatives of the selected cities, representatives of the NetZero Cities consortium, as well as members of the European Commission.

377 cities from all 27 European Union countries applied to be part of the Mission. The European Commission selected 100 EU cities, representing represent 12 per cent of the EU population, as well as an additional 12 cities from countries associated with Horizon Europe (2021-2027). The cities selected for this Mission will be fully supported by the NetZeroCities programme led by EIT Climate-KIC and will receive EUR 360 million of Horizon Europe funding from 2022 to 2023, to embark on innovation pathways towards climate neutrality.

The programme will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning. It also provides an opportunity to share best practices to build joint initiatives and expand collaboration with other EU programmes, which is one of the key aspects of addressing this challenge, according to Dr. Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC.

The event also featured a presentation of the NetZeroCities Climate City Contracts, which will be developed with local stakeholders and signed and implemented by each participating city. The Contracts include plans for the city to achieve climate neutrality, as well as an investment plan.

In the afternoon, the cities representatives participated in workshop sessions and visited information stations addressing e.g. the role of city Advisors, the new mission platform, the importance of monitoring and learning and Climate City Contracts. Around 300 people attended the meeting in Brussels, including Konrad Fijołek, president of Rzeszow (Poland)the Italian Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Enrico Giovannini and the Mayor of Prato (Italy), Matteo Biffoni, and the Municipality of Ioannina (Greece). Another 350 participated in the event online.

Led by EIT Climate-KIC, NetZeroCities consists of 33 partners from 27 European countries and acts as a platform tailored to cities’ sustainability needs and supported by climate practitioners. It will provide European cities the support and solutions they need to achieve their net-zero goal in a socially inclusive way. NetZeroCities will also support a series of pilot projects to help drive rapid learning on how to achieve climate neutrality at the city level and implement a twinning programme to facilitate peer-learning. The project will provide cities with capacity building on systemic change, citizen engagement and democratic governance, capital and financial structuring, and social innovation.

Source: European Institute of Innovation & Technology (https://bit.ly/3IP9Rno)