Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Ursula Bach

2017 European Green Leaf winning city

Galway is the 2017 European Green Leaf. The Irish city was selected over two other strong-performing finalists: Cornellà de Llobregat of Spain and Mikkeli of Finland.

In all, ten cities applied for the 2017 award cycle:

  • Aosta, Italy
  • Cornellà de Llobregat, Spain
  • Galway, Ireland
  • Kardzhali, Bulgaria
  • La Roche-sur-Yon, France
  • Mikkeli, Finland
  • Orbassano, Italy
  • San Miniato, Italy
  • Serres, Greece
  • Strovolos, Cyprus

Read about Galway here.

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said:

Two-thirds of Europeans live in towns and cities. Their health and well-being depends on how well city authorities address environmental challenges. The European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Awards recognise these remarkable efforts of environmentally-friendly cities. I am delighted to see cities from across the EU coming forward to show their progress towards a greener future. The winners to date are role models and inspire other cities to make their urban spaces sustainable and ultimately more enjoyable places in which to live, work and play.

This year marks the second round of the European Green Leaf Award, which seeks to recognise the progress made by Europe’s smaller cities towards innovative green solutions. Much is being done by local authorities and citizens to improve their environment and many others can learn from the best practices they have developed.

Green Leaf applications are assessed on the basis of six topic areas, including climate change and energy performance, mobility, biodiversity and land use, quality of air and the acoustic environment, waste management and circular economy, and water and wastewater management. Cities are shortlisted for both awards following a technical evaluation.

In June 2016, the shortlisted cities were invited to present their proposals to the Jury, which evaluated their commitment to continuous environmental improvement, the level of ambition of their future goals, their communication activities in favour of citizens, and the extent to which they would be able to act as a role model and promote their best practices. In addition to being an inspiration to others, the winning city will benefit from an increased profile, enhancing their city’s reputation as a desirable place to visit, work, play and live.

The winners of both competitions were announced at an Award Ceremony in June 2016 in Ljubljana, the 2016 European Green Capital.


To date, nine cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since its inception in 2010. Stockholm won the inaugural title, followed by Hamburg in 2011, Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2012, Nantes in 2013, and Bristol in 2015. The current holder for 2016 is Ljubljana, Slovenia, who will pass it to Essen, Germany in 2017. The Dutch city of Nijmegen will inherit the title in 2018.

As for Green Leaf, the joint winners of the 2015 Award were Mollet del Vallès, Spain and Torres Vedras, Portugal. The Irish city of Galway will be the 2017 European Green Leaf.

The Jury comprises representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors Office and the European Environmental Bureau.

Europe is now an essentially urban society, with more than two thirds of European citizens living in towns and cities. Many of the environmental challenges facing European society originate from urban areas but it is also these urban areas that bring together the commitment, determination and innovation needed to resolve them.