What are EU Missions?
EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver tangible results by 2030.
They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens.
EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027.
What this EU Mission deals with
The importance of climate-neutral and smart cities
Cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of the European Green Deal. They take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.
Since climate mitigation is heavily dependent on urban action, we need to support cities in accelerating their green and digital transformation. In particular, European cities can substantially contribute to the Green Deal target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 and, in more practical terms, to offer cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise to their citizens.
Aims of the Mission
The Cities Mission will involve local authorities, citizens, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities to
- Deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030
- Ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050
As foreseen in its implementation plan, the Cities Mission takes a cross-sectoral and demand-led approach, creating synergies between existing initiatives and basing its activities on the actual needs of cities.
Three new calls will contribute to the implementation of the Climate-neutral and Smart Cities Mission by providing support to cities to achieve climate neutrality.
Actions under these calls will cover a wide range of subjects such as zero-emission mobility, positive clean energy districts, urban greening and re-naturing, as well as associating Ukrainian cities to the climate-neutral and smart cities Mission.
A joint call between the Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 and the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change will be open from 10 January 2023 – 27 April 2023, with an overall indicative budget of €40 million. This call will cover urban greening and re-naturing for urban regeneration, resilience and climate neutrality.
A call on actions to support the implementation of the climate-neutral and smart cities Mission will be open from 10 January 2023 - 27 April 2023, with a total overall indicative budget of €70 million, in two topics:
- One topic covering co-designed smart systems and services for user-centred shared zero-emissions mobility in urban areas, with an indicative budget of €50 million
- One topic covering Positive clean energy district (PED) digital twins, with an indicative budget of €20 million
A call associating Ukrainian cities to the climate-neutral and smart cities Mission will be open from 4 April 2023 – 6 September 2023, with an overall indicative budget of €5 million.
What is next
The Commission launched a Call for Expression of Interest addressed to cities that was open between 25 November 2021 and 31 January 2022. This call allowed cities to state their interest in becoming climate-neutral by 2030 as part of the Mission and to submit information on their current situation, ongoing work, and future plans with regard to climate neutrality.
377 cities from all EU member states as well as nine associated countries and countries negotiating association submitted an expression of interest. After an evaluation of the submissions, the Commission announced on 28 April the 100 cities that will participate in the Cities Mission. The 100 cities come from all 27 Member States, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or in the process of being associated to Horizon Europe.
The 100 selected cities are now being invited to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans. This process will involve citizens, research organisations and the private sector.
The clear and visible commitments made by the cities in the Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their own citizens to deliver on this ambitious objective. Climate City Contracts will be co-created with local stakeholders and citizens, with the help of a Mission Platform (which is currently managed by the project NetZeroCities).
The Mission Platform will provide the necessary technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities. In total, Horizon Europe will invest around €360 million in research and innovation actions linked to the Mission (e.g. in mobility, energy, urban planning) in the period 2021-23.
- 29 September 2021
Official launch of the EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities and publication of the mission implementation plan
- 1 October 2021
Launch of the Mission Platform
- 25 November 2021
Launch of the Call for Expression of Interest
- 15 December 2021
Publication of first full work programme
- 31 January 2022
Deadline for responding to the Call for Expression of Interest
- Spring 2022
Selection of participating cities
- Mid 2022
Work on Climate City Contracts starts
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Commission launches new calls worth over €600 million to support research and innovation under EU Missions
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Follow the latest progress and get involved.