Visegrad and Balkans Hit out at Commission over Biofuels Phase-Out Proposal
by Sarantis Michalopoulos (Euractiv) The Visegrad group and two Balkan countries signed a joint declaration urging the European Commission to reconsider its proposal to gradually phase out first generation biofuels after 2020 and think about the consequences.
On the other hand, the biofuels industry, especially bioethanol, has long called for a system to differentiate between biofuels based on sustainability criteria. Bioethanol producers claim that Europe should focus on phasing out fossil fuels as well as biofuels that compete for land with food crops and drive deforestation, such as palm oil.
As far as farmers are concerned, they believe that the production of biofuels gives them valuable access to markets outside the subsidies-based CAP.
Adverse impact on rural development
A joint declaration of the Agricultural Ministers of Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) as well as Bulgaria and Romania shows that a significant number of EU member states do not see the Commission’s proposal in a positive light.
The declaration will be tabled at the next meeting of the EU Agriculture Council in October.
“Especially in light of current and expected crop surpluses in Europe, efforts to phase out biofuels produced from agricultural crops will adversely impact European energy security, will reduce European feed security, will result in even lower rural incomes, will force investors to flee Europe, in addition to making the attainment of climate goals more difficult,” the EU ministers stated.
In addition, they urged the Commission to “comprehensively” analyse its proposal and consider keeping the present requirements related to the use of food and feed crops for the production of biofuels in EU countries and third countries. READ MORE