Wrocław will not be the 2020 European Green Capital after the city once again failed to make it to through to the next round of the bidding process.
The cities that have progressed to the next stage are Ghent, Lahti and Lisbon, all of whom also bid last year.
The European Green Capital programme has been in existence since 2010. The likes of Stockholm, Hamburg, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, and Ljubljana have all held the title.
When Wrocław announced its intention to compete for the title of 2019 European Green Capital three years ago, President Rafal Dutkiewicz said the following about the city's bid:
"By submitting an application, we are saying to Europe that we will take care of our clean air and water, maintain access to green areas and take a lead on major issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss."
In response to news that Wrocław's latest bid had failed, Dutkiewicz stressed the city's desire to apply again, as well as his willingness to improve Wrocław's air quality and access to green spaces.
Considering Wrocław's high levels of air pollution in winter, many Wrocławians have ridiculed the city's green capital bid. However anti-smog activist Krzysztof Smolnicki has spoken positively about Wrocław's attempts to win the title of European Green Capital:
"It's good that we are trying, because we are setting a certain strategic direction. However, we are many years behind western cities, a situation which we can not overcome in a year or two. It is not the plans we are judging, but their effects."
Krzysztof Smolnicki, Lower Silesia Smog Alarm
Przemysław Filar of Wrocław's Beautification Society is nonetheless more critical of the bid. He told Gazeta Wyborcza yesterday that the city shouldn't think about applying until the smog issue has been solved.
Had Wrocław earned the title of European Green Capital, they would have had access to EU funding for public transport infrastructure, ecological projects and the construction of green spaces.