The French city of Grenoble is the winner of the European Commission’s European Green Capital Award 2022 while the title of European Green Leaf 2021 went to one city from Central and Eastern Europe, Gabrovo in Bulgaria, together with Finland’s Lappeenranta.
“The winners and finalists of the green city awards have proven to be resilient and shown that, even in the most difficult circumstances like this year’s, rapid changes are possible,” commented the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius at the official awards ceremony broadcast live from Lisbon, the current European Green Capital.
“These success stories also show that sustainability and green transition provide solutions to cope with sudden crises and create better and healthier urban areas for EU citizens,” he added. “As we continue to adapt to a new normal, our award winning cities will continue to play a leading role in implementing green solutions and creating cities that are fit for life.”
The winners of the European Green Leaf 2021 title will each receive 75,000 euros. Both Gabrovo and Lappeenranta stood out to the International Jury for their approach to environmental management, as well as their communications and engagement, that positions them as ideal role models to inspire other cities.
In particular, Gabrovo was commended for its commitment to energy efficiency and clean technology implementation over the past decade. This has resulted in initiatives with citizen involvement, focused on the provision of sustainable transport and maintenance of green areas. Gabrovo has a wide variety of natural habitats and species and has ongoing measures in place to protect and conserve these biodiversity assets.
“We hope that in the future we will have a chance to share our ideas and projects with other cities in Europe,” said Gabrovo’s Mayor Tanya Hristova (pictured above with the team) during the award ceremony.
The European Green Leaf Award was established in 2015 to recognise the environmental efforts and achievements of smaller towns and cities with 20,000 to 99,999 inhabitants. Candidate cities are assessed on the basis of six environmental topic areas which include nature, biodiversity, sustainable land use and soil; air quality and noise; waste and circular economy; water; climate change and energy performance; sustainable urban mobility.