Valencia kicks off 2024 as new European Green Capital

Photo-illustration: Unsplash (al-elmes)

The Spanish city of Valencia officially starts, today, as the European Green Capital 2024. To celebrate this achievement, over 400 activities and events are foreseen to reach all sectors of the city, from specialised audiences in sustainability, production, and business, to the residents of Valencia. The purpose is to raise awareness of the triple crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, and empower people to take action to address it.

Valencia’s motto is “On a Mission Together” and city authorities work with residents to reach their climate neutrality and environmental goals. With its strong emphasis on people, it effectively combines responses to environmental challenges with societal ones. This has made it a frontrunner in the transition to sustainability, and a source of inspiration for other European cities.

During a festive ceremony, Maria José Catalá, the Mayor of Valencia, will receive the Green Book from Tiit Terik, the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, the 2023 European Green Capital.

The opening ceremony will be followed by a concert in the cultural centre of Palau de la Música. On 12 January, the first EU Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities plaques will be awarded. Ten cities have been awarded the EU Mission Label in 2023, and five of these are Spanish cities, including Valencia. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises the cities’ plans to achieve climate-neutrality by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding to achieve that objective.


Photo-illustration: Unsplash (travelnow-or-crylater)

The European Commission launched the European Green Capital Award in 2010 to encourage cities to become greener and cleaner, and to improve the quality of life for their inhabitants. Around 75 percent of Europe’s population lives in cities and urban areas. Many cities play a leading role in managing the societal changes needed in the protection of the environment. They are key players for the implementation of the European Green Deal locally.

The European Green Capital Award is bestowed to cities above 100,000 inhabitants. Since 2010, the European Commission awarded the title to: Vilnius (2025), Valencia (2024), Tallinn (2023), Grenoble (2022), Lahti (2021), Lisbon (2020), Oslo (2019), Nijmegen (2018), Essen (2017), Ljubljana (2016), Bristol (2015), Copenhagen (2014), Nantes (2013), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Hamburg (2011) and Stockholm (2010).

In 2015, the European Green Leaf title was introduced for smaller cities starting from 20,000 and below 100,000 inhabitants, with seventeen Green Leaf winners so far. The 2024 titles went to the Slovenian city, Velenje, and Treviso in Italy. The Commission encourages the winners to work together and use their title year to build alliances.

Source: European Commission