Commission Proposals on Biofuels Will Damage Romania’s Interests
by Laurențiu Rebega (EurActiv/Europe of Nations and Freedom Group) The change of EU policy on biofuels will undermine Romania’s potential to become one of Europe’s most important sources of clean renewable fuel — … n addition to the other major advantages, biofuels produced in Europe were seen as a means of creating jobs, particularly in rural areas, and of improving farm incomes. Romania was, and remains, the EU member state that will benefit most from such a policy.
One commercial group that looked at Romania as a potential site for producing bioethanol in 2011-2012 calculated that Romania had the capacity to produce up to 18 billion litres of ethanol annually, a figure which if fully realised would create tens of thousands of jobs and add significantly to the country’s GDP.
If that potential was released Romania could become Europe’s most important sources of clean renewable fuel and Romania’s farming families and rural communities could enjoy the same remarkable prosperity that ethanol production brought to the corn growing areas of the United States over the last 20 years.
In 2012, on the basis of a set of arguments, which do not stand scrutiny and many of which have been shown to be false the European Commission reversed its policy on biofuels. Commission bureaucrats proposed cutting the biofuel requirement that had been set only three years earlier by half.
When the 2012 proposals appeared the leader of one of Europe’s most important ethanol producers, Spain’s Abengoa, predicted that the change in direction that the bureaucrats were pushing would turn Europe’s ethanol industry into a zombie industry. His predictions have proven to be all too accurate.
As predicted the changes have been a disaster. Across Europe ethanol plants have been closed, jobs have been lost, farmers have had an important income stream cut and rural communities, particularly in Central and Eastern EU member states have been denied the opportunity to share in the prosperity that a vibrant ethanol industry has brought to their counterparts in the US.
Oblivious to the damage that it has done already the same Commission bureaucrats who masterminded the 2012 debacle are now planning to go even further. In a policy document circulated on 20 July, the Commission is against all logic and in spite of the best available science, planning to revoke the mandate for conventional biofuels from 2020.
If the EU were to adopt a positive approach to ethanol on the lines that have been applied in the US-Romania would be a ‘big winner. A progressive EU policy would:
- Open up investment opportunities in Rural Romania;
- Create tens of thousands of jobs, one industry source estimates up to 70,000 jobs in this sector;
- Provide Romanian farmers with a secure income source;
- Pump billions of euro into the Romanian economy;
- Make Romania a major source of GMO-free animal feed and cut the EU’s need to import millions of tons of animal foodstuffs;
- Help the EU as a whole reduce its dependence on imported oil by producing clean renewable ‘Romanian grown’ energy;
- Help Romania and Europe cut greenhouse gases and meet EU 2020 targets.
The Commission’s approach is based on ideology rather than on logic, ignores the best available science and is an assault on common sense. READ MORE