8th February 2012
On the 7th February Vitoria-Gasteiz held its opening ceremony to launch its year as European Green Capital 2012.
Vitoria-Gasteiz kicked off the day by inviting citizens to the inauguration of it’s ‘Green Emblem! At the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. The purpose of the emblem is to remind the city of the Award and to recognise that Vitoria-Gasteiz is the first European Green Capital in Southern Europe.
At midday the official Opening Ceremony, held at the Montehermoso Palace, was televised live on Vitoria-Gasteiz TV. The Opening Ceremony was attended by the Queen of Spain, Director General for Environment of the European Commission Karl Falkenberg, Deputy General of Alava, Andres Javier, the Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete, the Regional President Patxi Lopez, and the Mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Javier Maroto.
Her Majesty Queen Sofia presided over the inauguration as president of the Honorary Committee of Green Capital. The event was also attended by representatives of the the former European Green Capitals- Stockholm (2010 winner), Hamburg (2011 winner) and the future 2013 winner- Nantes.
“Today is a historic day for our city,” said the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Javier Maroto. “Today we reap the fruits of our environmental record and recognition of more than three decades of sustained commitment to the environment, and a prize for each and every one of the citizens who make up this city”. The Mayor underlined that he felt the European Green Capital Award was the equivalent to the Noble Prize for the environment.
The Mayor stated that being the European Green Capital 2012 is an “exciting challenge”. “It’s a unique and historic opportunity to Vitoria-Gasteiz, to enhance and develop the future of our city”. The Mayor went on to state that “this title will put Vitoria on the map, will organize events to attract to our city, will promote trade and hospitality and will get thousands of tourists from around the world visit us. But most importantly, will generate employment. In this time of economic crisis, we have before us a great opportunity to generate jobs.”
The Director General for Environment of the European Commission, Karl Falkenberg stated that Vitoria-Gasteiz has shown how a city of its size can be “small but beautiful” and how it can use its “imagination and creativity to come up with solutions” to becoming a sustainable city.
You can read more about this event here
To read more about the 2012 European Green Capital Click here
You can watch the Opening Ceremony here