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. 

How cities can participate

The Commission launched a Call for Expression of Interest addressed to cities on 25 November 2021. This call will allow 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.

Registration is necessary to access the questionnaire that cities will need to fill in to respond to the call. Registration is possible at any time, before or after the call will be opened. Cities who register will receive the link to the questionnaire via email.

Preview of the survey.

Factsheet: EU Cities Mission: What is in it for my city and how can we become a part of it?

What is next

The Mission will have as its central feature the Climate City Contracts to be drawn up, signed and implemented by each participating city. They will set out plans for the city to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 and they will include an investment plan. While not legally binding, these contracts will constitute a clear and highly visible political commitment  to the EU, national and regional authorities and citizens.  

Climate City Contracts will be co-created with local stakeholders and citizens, with the help of a Mission Platform (which is run in the first phase of the Mission by the project NetZeroCities). 

The Mission Platform will provide the necessary technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities. In addition, Horizon Europe will invest around €350 million in research and innovation actions linked to the Mission (e.g. in mobility, energy, urban planning) in the period 2021-23. 

A first full work programme was published in December 2021

More information





  • 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 

  • March-April 2022

    Selection of participating cities 

  • Mid 2022

    Work on Climate City Contracts starts 


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