“We need more Finlands in the Bioeconomy”. This is what John Bell, director Bioeconomy at the EU Commission said yesterday in Helsinki at the European Bioeconomy Scene 2019, organized with the objective to achieve an inclusive and sustainable bioeconomy for Europe.
Helsinki is the European capital of bioeconomy. A Bioeconomy Conference is being organised to contribute to achieving an inclusive and sustainable bioeconomy for Europe. Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the European Commission are jointly organising the conference, and it is one of the events to be held in Helsinki under Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The European Commission launched today the updated Bioeconomy Strategy “A sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe. Strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment”.
“The bioeconomy promises to lead the next rising wave of global economic development. Renewable energy, renewable raw materials and recyclable products pose a positive challenge to our current fossil fuel dependence”. John Bell, Director at the European Commission in charge of bioeconomy, talks to Il Bioeconomista.
In this long exclusive interview, he talks about the new strategy on bioeconomy, the EU’s new research and innovation programme, the role of member states and regions and the connection between bioeconomy and society.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
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.