Newsletter EUBIA
January 2018


Agriculture Corner

Call for Proposals: Promotion of Agricultural Products

The Call for Proposals follows the Commission's decision to increase the funding for agricultural products by an amount of €27 million.The work programme for agriculture (total funding €169 million)  aims at promoting EU food products in EU and non-EU countries with high potential to increase exports, such as Canada, Japan China, Mexico or Colombia.
The topics that the EU is going to tackle are EU quality schemes and labels (geographical indications, organic products) and specially sustainable breeding (focus on sheep and goat). Also the Commission provides funding to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables due to its concerns on healthy eating.

On Tuesday 31st of January an Info Day was held on the Call for Proposals for Promotion of Agricultural Products. 

Please find here the Press Release on the Calls for Proposals.
Please find here the Calls for Proposals.

France, a review of CAP is needed 
Traditionally, France has always aimed to maintain its share from CAP subsidies (an amount that goes up to €9 billion),  being the largest net beneficiary of the policy. This being a reflection of the fact that the existence of CAP is mainly due to French politicians who, in 1962 asked for direct payments for french farmers if an European market was going to be established.

However, there has been a recent change in the view of this policy with the new government leaded by the Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron. In September, he already stated that CAP should be reviewed ‘without taboos’ as it was not clear if the policy was having a real effect either for farmers or consumers.  This new view towards CAP comes along with the acknowledgement both from Brussels and Paris that there are other strategic priorities that need a deeper focus such as security, migration and digital technology. Moreover, the EU budget dedicated to CAP would be affected by Brexit, which will constitute €12 billion annual loss in the 2021-2027 budget.

Find here the complete news about this issue.

Future of CAP: a non-centralised system?

The European Commission is planning to change the current system of the CAP, the Common Agricultural Policy, which absorbs a 40% of the total EU budget. The new system should rely on the principle of subsidiarity, rather than a centralised system as it is currently happening. Traditionally, the countries receive direct payments to farmers, that being Pillar 1 (payments) 70% of the total, while Pillar 2 (rural development funds) receives a smaller proportion. The objective is to transfer some budget from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, motivating farmers to act green in farming in order to get subsidies.

There has been a general petition by farmers to make amendments to the current policy due to the heavy bureaucratic system. Furthermore, a change is needed on the distribution system, as the funds are obtained mostly by big farm owners (being the payments system based on acreage). With the new system, the subsidies that farmers get will depend on their contribution to environmental and rural development schemes instead. The new system would be that the European Commission defines the general vision of the European agriculture sector, such as market oversight or environmental rules, and policies are implemented at the national level according to specific needs of the country. 

Please find here the complete news about this issue (page 26).

Strength from division? The merger DowDuPont will split into three separated companies                                                                                                             

DowDuPont is a merger from two companies, Dow Chemical and DuPont that came together on August last year (for 18 to 24 months), bringing together three business (DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection, and Dow AgroSciences) in agriculture, material science and specialty products.

The aim of the merger was to ‘create a world-class agriculture leader with a comprehensive and balanced portfolio and a robust pipeline of innovative solutions across seed, crop protection, seed-applied technologies and digital agriculture’ as said by Pierre Flye Sainte Marie, head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa region), Agriculture Division of DowDuPont. Since its creation the three divisions work jointly under the structure of DowDuPont. However, at the end of the merger period they will be separated in three independent specialized companies that will be publicly traded but will maintain a business relationship.

Please find here the Q&A to Pierre Flye Sainte Marie.

Energy Corner

To pay or not to pay? The EU has to decide on payments to coal-fired plants


The EU has been aiming for a decarbonization of the environment and a green energy transition. However, the reality is that the EU is still dependant on non-renewable resources like coal. Renewable resources such as wind and solar power are highly dependent on weather and season conditions. Therefore, other sources are needed for energy security reasons such as coal and gas. The issue is that the EU has been giving subsidies to coal-fired plants, and now, it has been questioned if these subsidies should continue to be provided. Moreover, gas companies could be benefiting from this decision. The European Commission has made a proposal to limit payments only to generators emitting fewer than 550 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. This implies that coal plants would be eliminated, which will only leave the option for gas. The proposal has provoked different positions on Member States and marked the beginning of a lobbying campaign from Euroelectric, opposing the 550 rule as it could lead to additional costs up to €50 billion; and the main gas and renewable energy-focused companies and associations that could benefit from the 550 rule.

In conclusion, this proposal has created a debate within the institutions that will be solved with the decision of the Parliament and the Council.

Please find here the complete news about this issue (page 32).

MEPs vote for a 35% energy from renewable sources and 35% of energy efficiency by 2030

During the January Strasbourg plenary session, the European Parliament has voted on two important directives, the Renewable Energy Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, part of the Clean Energy Package.

Energy Efficiency Directive

The MEPs voted in favour of the ITRE committee proposal, with MEP Jose Blanco as a rapporteur, for a binding EU-level target of 35% of energy efficiency in Europe to be reached by 2030. The EU will elaborate indicative national targets, while Member States will be establishing their own national target.

The proposal was approved by 485 votes to 132, with 58 abstentions.

Renewable Energy Directive

The MEPs voted in favour of a binding target of a 35% share of renewable energy on the total energy consumption in Europe, by 2030. The EU will be imposing national targets, from which Member States would be allowed to deviate up to 10%, under certain conditions.

The voting results were: 492 votes in favor, 107 abstentions and 88 against it.

The MEPs position differs from the position adopted by the European Commission on December 2016, and shared by the European Council, for a 27% of renewable energy share to be reached by 2030.

Following this vote, it is now the turn of the Council to have a discussion and consider this 35% of renewable for 2030 instead of 27%. Negotiations among Member States are expected to be difficult due to the opposition of Central and Eastern European countries to commit to a higher percentage.

Regarding renewables in transport, Member States will have to ensure a 12% of energy coming from renewable sources. The contribution of first-generation biofuels should be kept at current levels, while the share of advances biofuels, renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising  up to 10% in 2030.


MEPs are in favour of designing support schemes for renewable energy from biomass in order to avoid encouraging an unsustainable use of biomass for energy production if there are better use; priority should be given to burning wood wastes and residues.

Please find here the results of the votes in Strasbourg.

Commission and Parliament disagree over EU energy projects priority list

In December 2017, the European Commission presented a list of priority energy projects, including fossil fuel projects. The aim of these projects consists in enabling the EU to comply with the energy and climate objectives.

However, the list has been strongly criticised by the Parliament. The main discordance lies on the  large number of gas projects; the European Commission states that the number of gas projects has decreased but this is questioned by the Parliament as the Commission has put some projects together. As a reaction to the list, the GUE/NGL lawmaker Xabier Benito Ziluaga and Greens/EFA MEP Michèle Rivasi are planning to raise an objection in the ITRE committee. As a result, both lawmakers and MEPs would vote on the list for the first time, although not on specific projects. The next step will take place in the following ITRE’s meeting in February and MEPs are likely going to vote. If the vote results in a rejection, the list will go under plenary in March. A qualified majority could reject the list completely, but this is unlikely to happen due to support from the EPP and ECR groups.

Please find here the complete news about this issue.

News on Plastics, Air and SMEs

Adoption of the First European Strategy for Plastics

The European Commission has adopted the first strategy for Plastics that aims to contribute towards Circular Economy.

This Strategy forms part of the Circular Economy Package, which appearance goes back to 2015, when it was first adopted. Its objective is to achieve a European Circular Economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. Even before that, in December 2014, there was a willingness from the Commission to present a legislative proposal on waste but finally decided to expand the proposal to the whole economy and propose a new package the following year. Since the Circular Economy Package was adopted there have been initiatives to expand the scope of this package.

The Plastics Strategy has been released by a team of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (responsible for sustainable development), Vice-President Jyrki Katainen (responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness) and Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who were previously also working on the Circular Economy Package.

The Strategy focuses on four priority areas regarding how plastics are being designed, produced, used and recycled: improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling, curb plastic waste and littering, drive investments and innovation towards circular solutions and harness global action. Overall, this Strategy aims to reach a full recycling plastic packaging on the EU market by 2030, reduce consumption of single-use plastics and  restrict the intentional use of microplastics. In Europe, around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced yearly, from which only a 30% is collected.

However, as it was expected from the first draft released of the Strategy, a plastic tax is not included. Although Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger proposed a plastic tax which would be beneficial for finances after brexit ant to make garbage more expensive, the Commission only briefly mentioned it by saying that they will ‘explore the feasibility of introducing measures of a fiscal nature at the EU level’.

Stakeholders are invited to contribute by participating on the ongoing public consultation until 12 February 2018.

Please find here the Press Release of the European Commission.

Please find here news about this issue.

Improvements on air quality and compliance on environmental laws by Member States     
Concerns on the quality of air have been raising as it has been seen that several Member States would not meet the objectives. For that reason a meeting was held last 30th of January. As mentioned by Commissioner Karmenu Vella the meeting took place due to several reasons : "This meeting on air quality has been called for three reasons. To protect citizens. To clarify that if there is no improvement of air quality there are legal consequences. And to remind Member States that this step is at the end of a long, some would say too long, period of offers to help, advice given, and warnings made."  Regarding environment laws the Commission wants to help Member States to meet the environmental rules, to do so they adopted a Compliance Assurance Action Plan that enables them to promote monitor and enforce compliance with the rules.

Please find here the Press release on this news.


Investment on SMEs to promote innovation under Horizon 2020

The SME instrument is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) under the Horizon 2020 which aims to promote innovation by funding opportunities.

The SME Instrument has provided funding to 69 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 22 countries for the second phase of the SME Instrument. The companies with more success were Spanish and Italian SMEs. The projects were mainly focused on transport, energy and ICT.

Please find here more about these news
EUBCE European Biomass Conference and Exhibition

The EUBCE is taking place in Copenhagen on 14th - 18 May  2018.

EUBIA's member will have the opportunity to participate to networking cocktail, have a dedicated exposition space, as well as discounted rate for registration.

The Conference programme is available here.
Find here the website more information about the event.
The European Biopolymer Summit

The European Biopolymer Summit is taking place the 14th and 15 of February in Dusseldorf, Germany. EUBIA's Deputy Secretary General, Drilona Shtjefni will be the chairman of the event.

Find here the website more information about the event.
Upcoming events:
-6th-8th February 2018, IEEE World Forum on IoT-Singapore
-7th-8th February 2018, Biogaz Europe
-14th-15th February 2018, European Biopolymers Summit
-19th February 2018, BREXIT - Implications for Energy Market Participants
-20th-21st February 2018, Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference
-20th-24th February 2018, 4th International Fair Agricultural Machines
-22nd-23rd February 2018, EU Industry Day
-24th February-4th March 2018 Salon International d'Agriculture
-27th February 2018, Fostering the transition towards a Circular Economy in Europe
-2nd March 2018, IoF 2020 Stakeholder Event: 'Unleashing the potential of IoT in the food and farming sector'
-1st March 2018, European Energy Efficiency Conference
-1st March 2018, Forum of Biomass and Waste
-14th-15th March 2018, 3rd European and Beverage Plastic Packaging Summit
-15th-16th March 2018, Successful R&I in Europe 2018
-15th-18th March 2018, Bois Energie
-28th-19th March 2018, Gasification
-17th April 2018, Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking Event
-25th-26th April 2018, 8th European Algae Summit
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