The EU recognises that cities play a crucial role in the implementation of the European Green Pact for a low-carbon, resource-efficient, clean, sustainable and resilient society. With more than 70% of Europe’s people living in urban areas, cities play an important role in environmental and economic transformation.

The European Green Capital Award was launched in 2010 by the European Commission to encourage cities to become greener and cleaner and thus improve the quality of life of their citizens. The Award recognises cities that are committed to achieving the ambitious goals of the European Green Pact and, more specifically, the Zero Pollution Action Plan, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Biodiversity Strategy. Notably, as you may know, Vitoria-Gasteiz was European Green Capital in 2012, and Valencia won the title for 2024.

On 5 October, in Tallinn (Estonia), which serves as European Green Capital 2023, the 2025 winners were announced: Vilnius (Lithuania) will be European Green Capital 2025, while the European Green Leaf 2025 award for smaller cities went to Viladecans (Spain) and Treviso (Italy).

The jury particularly liked its realistic approach. Its motto “Vilnius: the greenest city in the making” is guided by a clear vision and tangible actions. The jury recognised that Vilnius has successfully reduced emissions through various measures, such as increasing renewable energy sources and renovating the heating infrastructure with the aim of becoming climate neutral by 2030. The city intertwines its sustainability efforts with the happiness of its residents, connecting initiatives for clean air and water, preserving biodiversity, increasing green spaces and more. Vilnius’ innovative technological approach to citizen engagement and participation also pleased the jury, as it uses an app to engage citizens in all relevant areas of city management and planning.