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Covenant of Mayors - Europe

2026 Green Cities Awards

Type of Call

Awards & Competition


The 2026 edition of the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards is now open for applications. 

The Awards promote and reward the efforts of European towns and cities that strive to reduce their impact on the local and global environment improving the quality of life for their inhabitants. Winning cities will be awarded a financial prize and will join the ever-growing network of leading European cities that share common vision and expertise and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

The European Green Capital Award is open to cities with over 100 000 inhabitants. Smaller cities can apply for the European Green Leaf Award, which is open to all towns and cities with more than 20.000 inhabitants.

The winner of the Green Capital Award will receive €600 000 and up to two Green Leaf winners will receive €200 000 each. The financial prize contributes to supporting the winning cities in implementing initiatives and measures to enhance their environmental performance. The prize also supports cities in their efforts to reach out to citizens, especially during their winning year. Additionally, all applicants will receive personalised feedback on their applications.


Interested cities are invited to register for the contest via the EU survey, to ensure they receive access to the relevant documents and the application form.  

Deadline for applying: 30 April 2024

A panel of independent urban sustainability experts will review and assess the performance of the competing cities against the following seven environmental indicators: air quality; water; biodiversity, green areas and sustainable land use; waste and circular economy; noise; climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation.

Based on the experts’ recommendations and factual background checks, the Commission selects the finalist cities (expected around June/July). The finalists will be requested by the jury to provide additional input on their sustainable governance and communication strategy. They will be invited to present their vision to the jury, who will then select the winners (expected around October). Each year, one Green Capital and one or two Green Leaf winners are selected.

More on the process and the rules.


The European Green Capital Award was launched by the European Commission to encourage cities to become greener and cleaner, and to improve the quality of life for inhabitants. With over two-thirds of Europe’s population living in cities, cities play a leading role in the social, environmental, and economic transformation prioritized by the European Green Deal.

Sixteen cities have won the European Green Capital Award to date: Vilnius (2025), Valencia (2024), Tallinn (2023), Grenoble (2022), Lahti (2021), Lisbon (2020), Oslo (2019), Nijmegen (2018), Essen (2017), Ljubljana (2016), Bristol (2015), Copenhagen (2014), Nantes (2013), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Hamburg (2011) and Stockholm (2010).

Seventeen smaller cities have won the European Green Leaf Award: Treviso, Italy and Viladecans from Spain (2025), Elsinore in Denmark and Velenje from Slovenia (2024), Winterswijk in The Netherlands and Valongo, Portugal (2022), Grabovo, Bulgaria and Lappeenranta, Finland (2021), Limerick, Ireland and Mechelen, Belgium (2020); Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain, and Horst aan de Maas, the Netherlands (2019); Leuven, Belgium, and Växjö, Sweden (2018); Galway, Ireland (2017) and Mollèt del Valles, Spain and Torres Vedras, Portugal (2015).

Apply here.

Entity in charge

DG Environment

Eligibility Criteria

Download the latest Rules of Contest for both the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards.

The Rules of Contest must be adhered to in order for applicant cities to submit eligible applications.

This call for entries for the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards is open to the following applicants:

  • Applicant cities from Member States as well as from third countries that are associated to the LIFE programme at the time of closure of the present call.
  • Cities from EEA countries can also participate in the call and win the awards, but the prize money will only be given to countries that are associated to the LIFE programme at the time of closure of the present call.
  • For the European Green Capital: applicant cities from the countries listed above which have more than 100 000 inhabitants.
  • For the European Green Leaf: applicant cities from the countries listed above from 20 000 and below 10 000 inhabitants.
  • For the purposes of this contest, a 'city' is understood to be an (1) urban area, including metropolitan areas (excluding agglomerations that combine more than one otherwise eligible cities), and must encompass an (2) administrative unit governed by a city council or another form of democratically elected body.
  • For population data, Eurostat will be the source of reference. For countries not covered by Eurostat, the European Commission will perform specific checks when assessing the eligibility criteria and might ask any concerned cities to prove they comply with this requirement.
  • In any given year, cities can apply for either the European Green Capital Award or European Green Leaf Awards, but not for both at the same time.
    Past winners of the European Green Capital Award or European Green Leaf Awards titles may not re-apply.
Application Deadline


Mitigation, Adaptation, Zero Pollution, Mobility

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