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The Circular Cities and Regions Initiative

The EU’s transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources and create sustainable growth and jobs. It will also help to achieve the 2050 climate neutrality target set out in the European Green Deal. 

Part of the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) focuses on implementing the circular economy at local and regional level by providing assistance to cities and regions. As well as those of the European Green Deal, it contributes to the policy objectives of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. 

Combining technical and financial support, the initiative provides comprehensive support over the whole life cycle of urban and regional circular economy initiatives. It assists stakeholders across Europe’s cities and regions, including regional and local authorities, industry representatives, research and technology organisations and civil society. 

DG RTD CCRI Post pictures 2

Cities and regions are the closest to Europe’s citizens and sources of innovation, socio-economic transformation and circular ecosystems. They are thereby well placed to drive change towards a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive and just circular economy. 
Many cities and regions are already drawing up their own plans to improve circularity in their economic sectors, value chains and services. Research and innovation initiatives are also helping improve circularity in local systems and economies. 
While policy tools and funding instruments already exist, there remain many gaps in knowledge, information, skills and awareness. 

Aims and activities

The CCRI aims to support Europe’s green transition by boosting circularity at local and regional level.
In order to build capacity and drive economic growth, it works to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing between EU cities and regions. The CCRI also aims to boost innovation and upscaling, which are essential for making the circular economy more widespread and mainstream.
Delivering concrete solutions can prove challenging, given that economic sectors, value chains and services vary greatly across Europe’s cities and regions. The CCRI therefore aims to share replicable best practices to help cities and regions find concrete Circular Systemic Solutions that suit their own needs. 
It also combines this knowledge-sharing with financial support and technical support, including: 

  • financial support to demonstration projects from Horizon Europe (€200 million over six years); 

  • financial support to project development assistance (PDA) of investment proposals (€40-50 million depending on needs, delivered through project development assistance grants in Horizon Europe and Circular Economy Technical Assistance Facility (CETAF)1 grants from the European Investment Bank);  

  • non-financial assistance from collaborating organisations, such as the European Investment Bank’s Circular City Centre (C3)2, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ‘Programme on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions’3

  • 1CETAF is supported by €10 million contribution from Horizon Europe Cluster 6 to the InvestEU Advisory Hub 
  • 2C3 is supported by €5 million contribution from Horizon Europe Cluster 6 to the InvestEU Advisory Hub 
  • 3OECD is supported by €1 million grant from Horizon Europe Cluster 6