Ljubljana takes over from Bristol the 2016 European Green Capital award.
Each year, the European Commission rewards cities’ efforts and commitment to improving the urban environment. The awarded cities in turn are signaled out as ambassadors for sustainable urban development, which can positively affect business, investment, and tourism.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Brussels Commissioner Vella said: “I congratulate Ljubljana for becoming greener, healthier and more sustainable.” The award is a result of a policy roadmap that includes the preservation of vast green spaces (542 m2 per inhabitant) and the promotion of public transport through pedestrian access and cycling networks (220 km of managed cycling routes).
In addition, the city boasts a Zero Waste Strategy, molding Ljubljana into the demands of a circular cutting edge economy. The circular economy concept is in line with the December 2015 European Commission strategy of “closing the loop” on product lifecycles through recycling and re-use. Ljubljana will in this respect be signaled out as a model.
The European Green Capital Award is presented by an expert jury to the city that excels in 12 environmental benchmark criteria. Eight cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital since its inception in 2010: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Copenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), and Ljubljana (2016).
Ljubljana will pass the title to Essen in 2017.
There is also an award for towns and cities with a population between 20,000 and 100,000, namely the European Green Leaf Award. Torres Vedras (PT) and Mollet de Vallès (ES) currently hold the title for 2015.