At a ceremony in Brussels, 23 cities – all part of the EU Cities Mission – received a ‘Mission Label’, following the submission of their Climate City Contract or CCC, which defines the city’s climate commitments, action plan, and investment strategy to become climate neutral by 2030. 

Detailed CCC documents also include input from citizens and stakeholders – a key part of the process of engagement that continues after submission, as the city advances towards its climate goals and the CCC is developed further. 

The labels are a recognition of the city’s plans by the European Commission, which it is hoped will unlock investment, particularly from the private sector, to help realise their plans. 

As part of the CCC process, cities are given expert guidance during drafting and submission by the ‘Mission Platform’, currently managed by the NetZeroCities consortium, set up to support Mission Cities. 

Mayors and city representatives attended a ceremony on 21 March to receive the award from Commissioner Iliana Ivanova at ‘European R&I Days 24’, the European Commission’s flagship event on research and innovation. 

The cities join another ten awardees who received the first labels in October 2023. 

The 23 cities awarded the label are: Ioannina, Kalamata, Kozani, Thessaloniki (Greece), Heidelberg (Germany), Leuven (Belgium), Espoo, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, Turku (Finland), Barcelona, Seville (Spain), Pecs (Hungary), Malmö (Sweden), Guimaraes, Lisbon (Portugal), Florence, Parma (Italy), Marseille, Lyon (France), Limassol (Cyprus) and Izmir (Türkiye). 

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) also announced that financial advisory services provided by the EIB for cities participating in the EU Cities Mission – and particularly those with a Mission Label – would be topped up by nearly €19 Million.  

A “Cities Mission Capital Hub” is also to be launched this year. It will help cities that have received the Mission label to translate their investment strategies into concrete needs and to prepare projects for investment, offer them neutral advice on the best financing solutions, and put them in touch with investors.  

NetZeroCities Director Thomas Osdoba, said: “The 23 cities receiving these awards deserve great praise for their efforts and I congratulate them all. Completing a CCC is a unique and challenging process. The Mission ambition for climate neutrality by 2030 requires cities to think and work differently. The recognition of their plans with a Mission Label is a testament to their commitment and work with the citizens and stakeholders who are essential to make those plans a reality. The team at NetZeroCities look forward to supporting our cities further as they take their next vital steps as Mission Label cities”.  


Mayor Kokkaliaris Ioannis, Kozani, Greece, said: “This award was a cumulative success. Each one of our citizens formed the climate accord and I am very optimistic that we will engage everyone in the implementation of it. I hope the next time we meet I can tell you that the bet was won not FOR the citizens but WITH the citizens.” 


Vice Mayor Jari Iskanius, Lappeenranta, Finland, said:  “The Mission Label is a great recognition for the city of Lappeenranta. The city’s climate work supports the development of the area and further strengthens the actions related to the green transition. Measures leading to climate neutrality are also gaining momentum”. 


Deputy Mayor Prodromos Nikiforidis, Thessaloniki, Greece, said: “Thessaloniki has a unique opportunity to set a common vision and develop a comprehensive and contemporary roadmap towards climate neutrality – not an easy task for a densely populated city. Having built the capacity from the participation in the Resilient Cities Network and the Resilient Strategy development, the Municipality of Thessaloniki addresses a participatory and cooperative approach in working towards main urban challenges. Being part of the Mission gives the city of Thessaloniki the mandate to act, to incentivise and enable the stakeholders of the city to work collaboratively. This commitment is valuable proof of Thessaloniki’s endeavour”. 



1. For more information on the Mission Label awards, you can read the European Commission’s press release here. 

2. The award ceremony at the R&I days can be rewatched here. 

3. Europe has pledged to lead on climate action and has set forth ambitious goals and directives to achieve that commitment. The Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe research and innovation programmes, the European Green Deal and other European Union policies and directives propel European Member States towards a 55% cut in emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. 

Cities are envisioned to lead in this respect, achieving zero carbon faster and ensuring our decarbonisation efforts are equitable and contribute to the well-being of European communities. 

4. NetZeroCities is a project consortium consisting of 34 partners from 27 European countries, managing the EU Cities Mission platform. The project supports the 112 European cities known as the Mission Cities in drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality. The EU Cities Mission supports the European Green Deal in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future through research and innovation.

5. The first ten cities awarded the Mission Label in October 2023 were: Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain), Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden). 

For more information, contact Alan MacKenzie –