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Covenant of Mayors - Europe
News article18 December 2023

Are you the EU's 2026 Green Capital or Green Leaf?

The European Commission just launched the competition for the 2026 European Green Capital and Green Leaf Winners. This is your chance to shine and show everyone all the hard work your city is doing to become climate neutral and resilient!

Valencia green corridor - EU Green Capital 2024

Are you committed to sustainable development in your city? Follow Tallinn, Valencia and Vilnius' footsteps and become the next EU Green Capital or Green Leaf.

On Friday, the European Commission called on European cities committed to sustainability to apply for the 2026 edition of the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards. 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.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said:

Our EU Green Deal work becomes a reality through greener cities that take up the right initiatives. And there is a chance to shine and get rewarded for that effort. It’s our European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards. I am calling on our European cities to pick up the challenge and apply for the 2026 titles. This is an opportunity not only to win the prestigious title, but also to share great stories and actions with other cities, inspiring one another in the process.

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 processes and 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 prioritised 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).

More information


Publication date
18 December 2023