Espoo selected to implement EU Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities together with other pioneers

28.4.2022 9.49Updated: 1.6.2022 7.33
EU missions - climate-neutral & smart cities, of which Espoo is one.

Cities selected for the Mission commit to achieving carbon-neutrality in 2030. The choice by European Commission strengthens Espoo’s position as one of the leading European climate cities.

Cities selected for the Mission commit to achieving carbon-neutrality in 2030. The choice by European Commission strengthens Espoo’s position as one of the leading European climate cities.

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

One of the five Missions is ‘100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030’. The selected cities will act as centres of experimentation and innovation for solutions that will enable all European cities to achieve the same goals by 2050.

Espoo applied to be one of the one hundred pioneers to strengthen the position of local operators and communities, making Espoo a key European experimentation environment for smart and sustainable urban solutions. Out of the 377 European cities that applied for the mission, the Commission selected 100 cities. In addition to Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere and Turku were chosen from Finland.

Ability to innovate and produce groundbreaking innovations key factors in selection

Readiness to reduce emissions at a quick rate and cooperate on development with universities, the private sector and residents unites the selected cities The ability to serve as an example to other operators and produce groundbreaking innovations was emphasized in the selection.

"Espoo's strength lies in open, participatory and development-friendly cooperation with the best partners, such as Aalto University, VTT and companies. Participating in the Mission is a way for Espoo to strengthen our role as an interesting piloting and innovation hub for low-carbon solutions, which are in high demand in the EU," says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä.

Cooperation for improved competitiveness in the region

A 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 Sustainable Espoo programme and 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 objective is long-term development of competitiveness together with companies and the research community. The Mission will help us strengthen the City’s role as a cooperation platform and development partner.

“Espoo’s goal is to increase the size of the urban community’s carbon handprint, or in other words, contribute to the reduction in global emissions with the help of innovations developed in Espoo. Businesses in Espoo will first pilot solutions locally and then export the best solutions globally. This way, Espoo’s impact will exceed its physical size,” says Strategy Director Pasi Laitala.

For the period 2021–2023, €350 million will be allocated to research, development and innovation funding through the Horizon Europe programme. Cities are also encouraged to find development and innovation funding from other sources.

“For residents of Espoo, the pioneer work will be more and more visible through the development of new solutions and improvements in the practicality and sustainability of their everyday lives. The objective is to strengthen economy and employment in Espoo and highlight local solutions through development,” adds Manager for Sustainable Development Helena Kyrki

Leading European climate cities to meet in Espoo in June

Climate leadership in cities will be one of the leading themes of the annual Eurocities network forum in Espoo in June, with political and civil service leaders from European cities in attendance.

The European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans is one of the decision-makers visiting Espoo, and he will be one of the primary guest speakers. Timmermans is responsible for the Commission's climate affairs and the European Green Deal. The role of cities in achieving the goals of Green Deal is crucial, and dialogue between the Commission and cities is an important way to advance the objectives outlined in the Espoo Story.

Further information

Helena Kyrki, Manager for Sustainable Development, City of Espoo, tel. +358 43 8248661,

EU Cities Mission: Meet the cities(external link)

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.

  • Sustainability
  • Climate