Lahti (Finland), Lille (France) and Strasbourg (France) are the finalists for the title of European Green Capital 2021, while for the European Green Leaf 2020 contest, Limerick, Lappeenranta (Finland) and Mechelen (Belgium) have been shortlisted. For more than a decade, this competition has been recognising cities for their efforts and commitment to driving sustainable urban development and making their cities better, greener places to live.

European Green Leaf

European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “I would like to congratulate all finalist cities for making it to the next stage of the competitions. "These awards showcase cities that are putting their citizens first, offering them a sustainable vision. As finalists, these cities have already taken the first step in proving their green credentials. "I am confident that they can all be inspiring role models, demonstrating how we can make our cities better and healthier places – that’s what these competitions are all about. Best of luck to all – I look forward to meeting you in Oslo on 20 June at the awards ceremony.” The shortlisted cities will now proceed to the final stage of the competition: convincing an international jury in June of their overall commitment to sustainable urban development, their capacity to act as a role model to other cities, and their strategy for communicating and engaging with their citizens. The title winners will be revealed at the official Award Ceremony on 20 June in Oslo, this year’s European Green Capital. The winner of the European Green Capital 2021 title will win €350,000 and the winner(s) of the European Green Leaf 2020 title will win €75,000 to kick-start their green years (maximum two winners). Is your city thinking about applying for the next European Green Capital competition? If so, then apply for the European Commission’s European Green Capital 2022 Applicant Workshop in Brussels on Monday, May 27. This one-day workshop will give any interested city a comprehensive overview of how to put together the application for the next competition, which will open on May 14.


The European Green Capital Award is presented to a city, with more than 100,000 inhabitants, that is at the forefront of environmentally friendly urban living. Each year, a panel of independent urban sustainability experts assesses the performance of the competing cities against 12 environmental indicators and selects finalists that are going onto the next stage of the competition. In addition to providing inspiration to other cities, the winner benefits from an increased profile, which serves to enhance the city’s reputation and makes it attractive as a sustainable destination for people to visit, work and live in. To date, 11 cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since it began in 2010. Stockholm, Sweden, won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg in Germany (2011); Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain (2012); Nantes in France (2013); Copenhagen in Denmark (2014); Bristol in the UK (2015); Ljubljana in Slovenia (2016); Essen in Germany (2017) and Nijmegen in the Netherlands (2018). The 2019 European Green Capital is Oslo, Norway, and will be followed by Lisbon, Portugal who won the title for 2020. Following the success of the European Green Capital Award, the European Green Leaf Award (EGLA) was established in 2015 to recognise the environmental efforts and achievements of smaller cities (20,000 – 100,000 inhabitants). The same panel of 12 independent urban sustainability experts (mentioned above) assesses the applications received by competing EGLA applicants based on six environmental topic areas and selects the finalists that will be making their presentation to the jury. To date, seven cities have been awarded the title of European Green Leaf: Mollet del Vallès, Spain (2015); Torres Vedras, Portugal (2015); Galway, Ireland (2017); Leuven, Belgium (2018); Växjö, Sweden (2018); and joint winners for 2019, Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain and Horst aan de Maas, the Netherlands.