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News announcement20 July 2023Directorate-General for Environment

Sustainable cities: five finalists for the European Green Capital & Leaf Awards

'European Green Capital' poster with map of Europe and names of cities in blue letters.
Map of the 2025 finalist cities

Five European cities are showing the way to resilience and sustainability as they enter the final stage of the European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards. There is rising pressure on cities in view of the pollution, climate change and biodiversity crisis. The cities have been shortlisted based on their commitment in addressing urban environmental challenges aiming to show that going green is possible, no matter where you start from.

Graz (Austria), Guimarães (Portugal) and Vilnius (Lithuania) are the finalists for the title of European Green Capital 2025 for cities above 100.000 inhabitants: For the European Green Leaf 2025, open to smaller urban areas, the finalists are Viladecans (Spain) and Treviso (Italy).

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

“With most Europeans living in urban areas, cities are essential to tackle the triple crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Today, we are celebrating these five exemplary European cities that have already decided to walk the talk. These cities are trailblazers showing how it is possible to be sustainable, offer a higher quality of life for citizens, while creating space for biodiversity and building resilience towards the effects of climate change.” 

The European Green Capital and Green Leaf Awards look at achievements of Europe’s top sustainable cities in seven environmental indicators:

  1. Air Quality
  2. Water
  3. Biodiversity, Green Areas and Sustainable Land Use
  4. Waste and Circular Economy
  5. Noise
  6. Climate Change Mitigation
  7. Climate Change Adaptation

What’s next?

The winners will be announced in this year’s European Green Capital Tallinn (Estonia) on 5 October 2023. The finalist cities will present themselves to a jury panel early October showing their overall environmental vision and governance, as well the communication strategy for their title year in case they win.

The European Green Capital winner will receive a financial prize of EUR 600,000 to implement their strategy and engage its citizens and stakeholders to get active. The title of European Green Leaf is awarded to one or two cities. Each winner is granted a financial prize of EUR 200,000 to help organise their year and spark further transformational activities.

What are the benefits?

The shortlisted cities already enjoy recognition as finalists for their efforts. All applicant cities receive valuable feedback from independent experts and can compare with other cities, obtaining important information about how to improve their environmental and climatic performance. 

Winners get attention on a European or even international scale throughout their title year. But there are benefits even long after the designated ‘winner’ year ends. Winning cities create a spirit of optimism in their city, which attracts more investors, and more national support. It is also important for the citizens, who are proud to take an active part in the change.

More background information can be found in our press kit.

For more information:


Publication date
20 July 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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