Since 2010, the European Commission recognises and rewards environmentally friendly cities within the competition "European Green Capital Award". The title is given each year to a city that is leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living and can act as a role-model to inspire other cities. In the competition, cities present their environmental performance in 12 indicators. Eligable to particpate were cities of at least 200,000 inhabitants and since 2016 cities of at least 100,000 inhabitants. The European Green Capitals to date are: Stockholm (2010), Hamburg (2011), Vitoria-Gasteiz (2012), Nantes (2013), Kopenhagen (2014), Bristol (2015), Ljubljana (2016), Essen (2017) und Nijmegen (2018).
Since 2015, the additional competition "European Green Leaf" recognises small cities (20,000-100,000 inhabitants) for their environmental performances. Applying cities present their environmental performance in six topic areas. European Green Leaves to date are: Mollet del Vallès and Torres Vedras (both 2016) and Galway (2017).
The competition consists of a two-tier evaluation process. First, an expert panel assesses the information supplied by each city and selects the shortlisted finalists. Next, the shortlisted cities present their action plans and communication strategies to a jury that selects the winners.
Since 2013, Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick is a member of the expert panel to evaluate the city applications in the indicator "Energy Performance" for the European Green Capital Award and since 2015 additionally the topic area "Climate Change and Energy Performance" for the European Green Leaf.