Bulgaria’s Sofia, Gabrovo chosen for EU Mission for climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030

Sofia and Gabrovo in Bulgaria are among 100 cities in the European Union that have been chosen to participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the “Cities Mission,” the European Commission (EC) said on April 28.

The 100 cities come from all 27 EU countries, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme (2021-2027).

The EC said that urban areas were home to 75 per cent of EU citizens.

Globally, urban areas consume over 65 per cent of the world’s energy, accounting for more than 70 per cent of CO2 emissions. It is therefore important that cities act as experimentation and innovation ecosystems to help all others in their transition to become climate-neutral by 2050, the EC said.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The green transition is making its way all over Europe right now.

“But there’s always a need for trailblazers, who set themselves even higher goals. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future. We will support them on this. Let’s begin the work today,” Von der Leyen said.

The Cities Mission will receive 360 million euro of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, to start the innovation paths towards climate neutrality by 2030.

The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes, the EC said.

The EC said that benefits for cities include tailor-made advice and assistance from a dedicated Mission Platform run by NetZeroCities, additional funding and financing opportunities and the possibility to join large innovation actions and pilot projects.

The Mission also provides networking opportunities, exchange of best practices between cities and support to engage citizens in the mission.

The EC will invite the 100 selected cities to develop Climate City Contracts, which will include an overall plan for climate neutrality across all sectors such as energy, buildings, waste management and transport, together with related investment plans.

This process will involve citizens, research organisations and the private sector. The clear and visible commitments made by the cities in the Climate City Contracts will enable them to engage with the EU, national and regional authorities – and most importantly with their own citizens to deliver on this ambitious objective, the EC said.

(Photo: Wengen, via goodfreephotos.com)

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