Bioeconomy Council welcomes new EU strategy

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18.10.2018 -

The European Commission has renewed the bioeconomy strategy and adopted a comprehensive action plan. 14 packages of measures aim to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and circular bioeconomy in Europe.

On 11 October 2018, Jyrki Katainen, EU Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, and Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, presented the new action plan for the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy strategy of 2012 was renewed in the course of a comprehensive review and public consultation.

The Bioeconomy Council welcomed the development and pointed out that the bioeconomy will now be defined at European level in a timely and more comprehensive manner. In addition to the importance of renewable resources, the strategy highlights the innovation potential of the life sciences and technologies. The new strategy’s overall objective is the bioeconomy’s contribution to climate protection and sustainable development in Europe. In this context, it emphasizes the systemic change required in the European economy. Traditional sectors of the economy will need to be modernized, giving rise to new industries focusing on sustainability. In particular, it aims to achieve a resource-saving circular economy and thus a departure from the throwaway society. This corresponds to strategic proposals which the Bioeconomy Council has emphasized in recent years.

The Commission presented an ambitious action plan proposing 14 policy measures to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and circular bioeconomy in Europe.

“The establishment of €100 million investment platform for industrial projects that can successfully build on ongoing public-private partnerships is a first step towards de-risking private investments and activating the capital market for the bioeconomy,” said Christine Lang, Co-Chair of the Bioeconomy Council, commenting on one of the measures listed.

The two co-chairs of the council also welcomed the Commission’s clear commitment to research and innovation. There are plans to significantly increase the budget for the new research program Horizon Europe (2021-2027) from €3.85 billion to €10 billion in the “food and natural resources” cluster. “This new strategy now promises to generate the urgently needed innovations for sustainable food and farming systems, climate-friendly forestry and sustainable consumption. Research at the interface of digitalization and bio-innovation plays a key role in the circular economy,” explained Joachim von Braun, Co-Chair of the Bioeconomy Council.

The plan is to create an EU-wide advisory body and a bioeconomy forum to support the implementation of the bioeconomy policy in the Member States and their regions. So far, seven EU countries have developed bioeconomy policy strategies, including Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Spain. A further seven countries (Estonia, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary) are currently in the process of developing such strategy documents. This is where Christine Lang sees an important role for the EU Commission, “In recent years, the bioeconomy has developed dynamically; a large number of projects, clusters and initiatives have emerged in the regions of the Member States. In future we need to leverage the strengths of the various initiatives and learn from each other.”

The European Commission stressed that aim is for the planned measures to be implemented internationally within the context of the Global Bioeconomy Summit. Joachim von Braun said, “This guarantees that the EU strategy will not be implemented in isolation from international developments in the bioeconomy but in partnerships.” The Global Bioeconomy Summit was initiated by the Bioeconomy Council in 2015 and was held for the second time in April 2018.

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