Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by M Hjälm

Launch of financial incentive and call for applications for the 2020 European Green Capital and 2019 European Green Leaf Awards

Does your city have what it takes to be the next European Green Capital or European Green Leaf winner? The competition for both awards is now open with more details on the European Green Capital Award application to be found here and the European Green Leaf Award application here.


Registration is obligation free and does not require your city to enter the competition at a later date. Registration will allow your city to explore the application process and determine if a formal entry is to be submitted.

Financial Incentive

For the first time, in order to celebrate the 10th year of the European Green Capital competition, the Commission will award a financial incentive of €350,000 to the winning city of the 2020 European Green Capital title (cities with a population of 100,000 or more inhabitants). A financial incentive of €75,000 will be awarded to the winner of the European Green Leaf 2019 title (cities with a population of 20,000 up to 100,000 inhabitants)[1].

EGCA LogoThe European Green Capital Award (EGCA), now in its 10th cycle, rewards cities for making positive change to improve their urban environments. The European Green Leaf Award (EGLA), established in 2015, to commend the work of smaller cities in driving environmental change.

Previous winners

Stockholm, Sweden, was the first city to win the European Green Capital title in 2010. Since then, winners of the Award have come from all over Europe: Hamburg in Germany, 2011; Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, 2012; Nantes in France, 2013; Copenhagen in Denmark, 2014; Bristol in the UK, 2015; Ljubljana in Slovenia, 2016; Essen in Germany, 2017; and Nijmegen in the Netherlands, 2018.

Mollet del Vallès in Spain and Torres Vedras in Portugal were the first winners of the European Green Leaf Award in 2015. Galway in Ireland followed in 2017.

The winners for the European Green Capital 2019 and Green Leaf 2018 will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in Essen, June 2017.

Competition process

Both Awards have a two-stage evaluation process. First, an international independent Expert Panel assesses each city’s application, selecting a shortlist for the next stage of the competition. Applicants are assessed based on 12 environmental indicators, and EGLA applicants on six topic areas.

The Expert Panel evaluation is synopsised in the Technical Assessment Reports. The reports from all previous EGCA competition cycles are available here, and EGL reports can be found here.

Finalists cities then present to an international Jury, when they must show their ongoing commitment to improving their urban environments and their capacity to act as a role model to others. You can find more information on the Jury and read Jury Reports from previous cycles here.

Rules of Contest

The rules of contest of the European Green Capital Award and European Green Leaf Award are available here. The rules of contest must be adhered to in order for applicant cities to submit eligible applications.

Benefits of entering the competition

Winning the EGCA and EGLA brings numerous benefits to a city, including:

  • Positive European and international media coverage;
  • Increased tourism;
  • Increased international profile, networking and new alliances;
  • New jobs – European Green Capital or European Green Leaf is more attractive to foreign investors;
  • Attracts public financial support;
  • More emphasis on environmental projects through sponsorship and grants;
  • Boosts local pride and generates a feeling of belonging;
  • Momentum to continue improving environmental sustainability;
  • Access to the European Green Capital and European Green Leaf Networks of previous winners and shortlisted cities to share ideas and experiences.

Even undergoing the application process can be of great benefit to cities, as they gain expert advice on how to improve their approach under each environmental indicator/topic area.

Applicant Workshop

If you are thinking of applying this for years EGCA cycle or at a later date, why not watch the EGCA Applicant Workshop? The workshop, which took place on 27 June 2017,  provided cities with an overview of 2020 evaluation and assessment process, Expert Panel guidance, key elements from winning bids and a chance to hear from previous winners. You can see presentations from past Applicant Workshops here.

The workshop can be viewed here.

More information on the application process for the EGCA can be found here and the EGL here.

[1] Subject to the approval of the EU 2018 Budget and approval by the College of the 2018 Financing Decision for the EU LIFE Programme