Espoo is applying for the major EU Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030

Published: 2.2.2022 7.17Updated: 2.2.2022 7.50

Participating in the EU Mission is a way for Espoo to show ambition and pioneering spirit.

The most important reforms of the European Union's new research and innovation program, Horizon Europe, are the Missions with which the Union seeks to solve global and societal challenges. The realization of the objectives of the missions is supported by significant development funding.

One of the five Missions is “100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030”. One hundred selected cities will act as centers of experimentation and innovation for solutions that will enable all European cities to achieve the same goals by 2050. For the period 2021-2023, €350 million will be allocated to Horizon Europe program's research, development and innovation funding.

The first 30 pioneering cities will be selected in the spring

The closing date for applications was in the end of January. The city of Espoo submitted an application and is seeking a place among Europe's leading climate cities. Altogether 377 cities applied. The European Commission will make the decision in the spring. In addition to readiness and commitment, the choices emphasize regional coverage.

The first 30 cities will be selected by the end of March to launch ambitious pioneering efforts. More cities will be selected later this year, with the goal of a total of one hundred demonstration cities committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Markku Markkula, City Councilor and Vice-President of the Sustainable Espoo Program, has been appointed by the European Committee of the Regions as the rapporteur for the European Missions, i.e. the representative of all EU cities and regions, to negotiate with the European Commission on the launch of Missions.

"The European Union’s Missions are a new, ambitious instrument for tackling major global challenges. The EU has set aside a total of €5 billion to fund the Missions. Tens of billions of private and public funding will come in addition to this. Regions and cities are in crucial positions. The success of the Missions requires the in-depth collaboration of the public and private sectors based on local needs in order to implement systemic change", Markkula states.

100 cities selected for the Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities unite public sector readiness to experiment with universities and the private sector.  The selection emphasizes the ability to innovate and produce groundbreaking innovations.

"Participating in the Mission is a way for Espoo to show ambition and pioneering spirit. Espoo's strength is its open, participatory and development-friendly cooperation with the best partners, such as Aalto University, VTT and companies. In the city's strategy, the Espoo Story, we are committed to carbon neutrality by 2030 and to develop solutions that strengthen Finland's competitiveness, the handprint of climate work and create sustainable growth", says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä.

The Climate City Contract as a tool

A new key tool in the Mission is the Climate City Contract. Each selected city will prepare and implement its contracts in collaboration with local businesses as well as other stakeholders and residents.

In Espoo, the agreement will be integrated into the preparation of a roadmap for achieving climate neutrality by 2030, which was decided by the City Council in connection with the approval of the Espoo Story.

The selection as part of the Mission of one hundred cities would provide opportunities for Espoo to share knowledge and experience and to work together with Europe's leading climate cities. In addition, the choice would strengthen Espoo's profile as an international-level center for experimentation and innovation for clean and intelligent urban solutions.

Climate on display at the June Eurocities Annual Forum in Espoo

Climate-neutral cities will be on display at the Eurocities Annual Forum, hosted by Espoo in June 2022, with the theme ”An era of new beginnings – Dream – Act – Lead – Together”.

The Annual Forum in Dipoli will bring the political and civil service leaders of European cities to Espoo and provide an opportunity to showcase Espoo's know-how, co-operation and ways of working, and to strengthen co-operation between cities.

Additional information

Manager for Sustainable Development Helena Kyrki, phone +358 43824 8661,

Sustainable Espoo -program is one of the four development programs established by the Espoo Council to organize and guide development work to achieve the goals outlined in the Espoo story.

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