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Research and innovation

EU Mission: Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

What this EU mission is, how EU missions will be implemented, mission boards, meetings, news, events.

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

  1. Deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030 
  2. 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. 


State of play

In April 2022, 100 cities in the EU and 12 cities in countries associated to Horizon Europe, were selected to participate in the Mission. 377 cities from all EU member states as well as nine associated countries and countries negotiating association had submitted an expression of interest.  The 112 cities are testing innovative cross-sectoral approaches including for citizen engagement, stakeholder management and internal governance to accelerate their path to climate neutrality. This makes them experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.

Climate City Contracts

The 112 selected cities are invited to develop Climate City Contracts, which include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans. Climate City Contracts are co-created with local stakeholders and citizens, with the help of a Mission Platform (which is currently managed by the project NetZeroCities). The clear and visible commitments put together by the cities in the Climate City Contracts enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities, with investors and with their citizens to deliver on their ambitious climate neutrality objective.

A first group of cities presented their Climate City Contracts in April 2023, which were reviewed by the Commission with the support of experts, including from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). In October 2023, following a positive review, the first 10 cities received an EU Mission Label, which is intended to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, in particular private investment. In March 2024, further 23 cities received the EU Mission Label.

The non-confidential parts of the cities’ Climate City Contracts are published on the NetZeroCities Platform portal’s knowledge repository. Cities that received the EU Mission Label can now use it as a sign of confidence in their climate neutrality plans, especially when approaching public and private funding.

The Commission, together with the Mission Platform, will continue to support the effective implementation of the Climate City Contracts. The Mission Platform provides the necessary hands-on technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities. In total, Horizon Europe is investing around €360 million in the Mission in the period 2021-23.

Publication cover
Factsheet28 February 2024
Cities on a journey to climate neutrality

The Mission Cities are currently on a journey to meet the climate neutrality goals they’ve committed to reach by 2030: through the development of Climate City Contracts, they are planning and implementing concrete actions in a collaborative way to deliver the Mission’s objectives by engaging with citizens and partners.


More information



RTD-HORIZON-EUROPE-MISSION-CITIESatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-HORIZON-EUROPE-MISSION-CITIES[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Subscribe to the Cities Mission newsletter and see the newsletter archive for news about the Mission.


  1. 29 September 2021

    Official launch of the EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities and publication of the mission implementation plan 

  2. 1 October 2021

    Launch of the Mission Platform 

  3. 25 November 2021

    Launch of the Call for Expression of Interest 

  4. 15 December 2021

    Publication of first full work programme 

  5. Spring 2022

    Selection of participating cities 

  6. Mid 2022

    Work on Climate City Contracts starts 

  7. 12 October 2023

    First ten cities awarded with EU Mission Label

  8. 21 March 2024

    23 cities awarded with EU Mission Label


Publication cover
Report25 June 2024
EU Missions to address climate change in cities and regions

This brochure showcases 14 European funded Mission projects that show the collaborative spirit, innovation and commitment required to address the pressing issues of climate change.

Publication cover
Factsheet28 February 2024
EU Cities Mission: Meet the cities

100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. Ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to put all European cities in a position to become climate-neutral by 2050.

General information8 November 2021
European Missions - Info Kit for Cities
Mission area summary - Climate-neutral and smart cities