Yesterday in Brussels was the Bioeconomy Policy day, a day dedicated not only to announce the outcomes of the review on the bioeconomy strategy presented in a Staff Working Document, but also to discuss how to move the bioeconomy forward. The EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders Panel launched the European Bioeconomy Manifesto to set out how the continent plans to grow this mult-trillion euro industry.
A New study conducted by nova-Institute and ordered by CropEnergies, which will be presented and discussed for the first time in Brussels on 26 September 2017, conducts quantitative and qualitative sustainability assessment of biofuels against the background of the EU’s REDII negotiations. This comprehensive sustainability assessment carried out by the German company led by Michael Caurs “shows that first generation bioethanol is as advantageous as second generation bioethanol for a feasible climate strategy”. According the nova-Institute “the results clearly indicate that the systematic discrimination against first generation biofuels of the current Commission proposal is in no way founded on scientific evidence. It would be counterproductive to further lower the share of first generation fuels in the EU’s energy mix”.
Yesterday the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
Chris Patermann is simply the “father” of the European bioeconomy. Since January 2004 he was Programme Director for “Biotechnology, Agriculture & Food” Research at the Research Directorate-General of the European Commission, which from 2007 also comprised Aquaculture and Fisheries as well as Forestry. During these years he was responsible for the elaboration of the new concept of the Knowledge Based Bioeconomy (KBBE), which today is known as bio-based economy or more simply bioeconomy in Europe. He was also appointed Chairman of the oldest Committee between EU Member States and the European Commission, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research, SCAR. He also served for 4 years as co-chair in the important EC-US Task Force Life Sciences and Biotechnology Research. In August 2007 Christian Patermann retired. He now lives in Bonn and advises public and private institutions and companies, among them the largest German Land NorthRhine-Westphalia, the Fraunhofer Society, the Swiss Agricultural Research Council etc.
With Chris Patermann, who is one of the most influential people in the European bioeconomy, we talk – in this long exciting exclusive interview – about what was the vision that inspired the beginnings of the European strategy on bioeconomy, but also the future of this meta-sector through which the European Union can aspire to economic growth, creation of jobs and environmental sustainability.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
The European bioeconomy seeks a compass. Yesterday ended the Bioeconomy Investment Summit organised by the European Commission in Brussels, which has had starring the main players of the bioeconomy made in Europe. The event, which had as its clever director John Bell – director of Bioeconomy Directorate – leaves many open questions, but mainly provides the framework of a Europe divided between countries, between sectors, between large and small companies, including those who require a system of public procurement as the Biopreferred Programme in the US (with standards and labels) and those who say it is up to the market, those who say the bioeconomy is integral part of circular economy and those who say that it is better to run on two parallel planes. In short, adelante con juicio.
From Thursday to Sunday we European Union citizens will be called to elect a new parliament. These elections are important, not only because for the first time will decide who will lead the European Commission. But mostly because the next 5 years represent a crucial point to understand whether the European Union will remain nothing more than a geographical expression (as Metternich called Italy in the Nineteenth century, before its Unification), or will be able to achieve a common economic and monetary policy, and with it a tax policy, a labor policy, etc. In one word: Policies.
New proposals which aim to limit the percentage of biofuels that can be used in transport fuels continue to divide opinion among European policymakers and stakeholders.
The fuel quality directive and renewable energy directive proposal, adopted by parliament’s environment committee, include new rules that take into consideration the impacts of producing biofuel crops.
The Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC), a cross sector group of 48 large and small companies, has joined forces with the European Commission to set up an unprecedented Public Private Partnership worth 3.8 billion euros to accelerate the deployment of biobased products in Europe by 2020.
The Biobased Industries PPP is part of the European Commission’s Innovation and Investment Package that was released today in Brussels. The package is intended to stimulate the European economy, create jobs and tackle major societal challenges through research, innovation and deployment. Continue reading
The European Commission has selected and appointed the 30 members of the Bioeconomy Panel, a new platform for informed discussions on the Bioeconomy.
These experts represent a wide variety of interests – scientific community and researchers, primary producers, industry, policy-makers, and civil society – and they are nominated for an initial mandate of 2 years.
Their role is to closely assist the Commission in the implementation of the Bioeconomy Strategy in Europe.
“Europe and the rest of the world must cope with an expected 70 per cent increase in food demand, and a 100 per cent increase in energy demand, by 2050. Under these circumstances, we must prepare ourselves for a ‘post-petroleum’ society, one in which we use our natural resources more sustainably”. In this exclusive interview European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Màire Geoghegan-Quinn, talks about bioeconomy and European policies to support it. And tells us that “The Italian government is aware of the benefits of a coordinated bioeconomy strategy and expressed interest in possibly hosting the annual Bioeconomy Stakeholders Conference in Italy in 2014”.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso