The city of Valencia has won the accolade of European Green Capital, 2024. This recognition, awarded by the European Commission, came down to a two-horse race between Valencia and Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Eugene Costello reports…
The victory was announced on Thursday 27 October at a ceremony held in the French city of Grenoble.
The Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, and Deputy Mayors Sandra Gómez and Sergi Campillo, led the case for Valencia’s candidacy for European Green Capital 2024. “We have travelled a road full of great achievements, and together we are making València an exemplary city,” said the mayor.
In addition to the nomination as European Green Capital 2024, the award comes with €600,000. Joan Ribó spoke at the event to express “deep emotion and satisfaction”. He wanted to express his gratitude for the appointment, both “for the prize it represents” and “for the responsibility it entails”.
Ribó thanked “all my colleagues, all the workers in the different municipal services, the companies, the universities, and everyone who has been collaborating with me for the work they have done” to reach this point. The mayor went on to say that it had been “a marvellous job”, according to news site Valencia Plaza.
The mayor added that the Valencian delegation was in Grenoble on Thursday “thanks to the Valencians who fought and won to have a Saler for the town, the river Turia which is a great park and to have a garden on the Jesuitas site”.
“Thanks to them we are here today”, he added.
Ribó also stated that the designation as European Green Capital 2024 is “a commitment to continue working on a city that is increasingly greener, increasingly sustainable and increasingly friendly to all its citizens, leaving no one behind”. In this sense, he said that Valencia aspires to be “a more resilient city in the face of climate change”.
Greener, friendlier and more sustainable
Deputy Mayor Sandra Gómez thanked “everyone for their efforts to make our city greener, friendlier, more sustainable and resilient against adverse effects, for combating climate change, for the great effort to recover public spaces, with the pedestrianisation of squares, making neighbourhoods for people and promoting public transport”.
“The prize is really yours”, she said, addressing the people of Valencia.
In addition to the mayor and the two deputy mayors, the Valencian delegation included the councillor for Sustainable Mobility, Giuseppe Grezzi, the councillor for Finance, Borja Sanjuán, and the councillor for Integrated Water Cycle and Participation, Elisa Valía. There were also representatives of the opposition who came to support the candidacy at the event. These included the spokesman for Ciudadanos, Fernando Giner, and the PP councillor, Paula Llobet.
For the opposition, María José Catalá (PP), via Twitter, has valued this designation as “the recognition of a whole trajectory of the city” since “we have been making València green for 60 years”.
“We have achieved this. Thanks to so many and to continue working so that this award makes sense”, he added. Fernando Giner (Cs) stressed that this award is “a great opportunity for our city” and urged us to “take advantage of it”. “Congratulations to all Valencians for having achieved this”, he added.
Euphoria back home as Valencia voted European Green Capital
Back home, people and politician followed the live stream of the event in the Town Hall Square. Political representatives, including the president of Les Corts, Enric Morera, the councillors Rebeca Torró, Isaura Navarro and Miguel Mínguez and several councillors of the City Council – those who had not travelled to Grenoble – celebrated the victory. The event was also open to the public.
After 6.30pm, when the verdict came, the public gathered in the Ágora erupted with joy, rose to their feet and began to applaud to celebrate this designation. The councillors of the government team in attendance embraced each other in a big hug. Moments later, Pirotecnia del Mediterráneo set off a small firework display.
“We had many claims and we deserved it”, celebrated València City Council on its social media sites.