The EU shall not let a helping hand to be bitten

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Europe is calling for measures to mitigate the disastrous impact of the COVID-19 and the European biofuels industry is answering that call of social responsibility without hesitation today.

Many of the European biofuel companies have successfully changed their complex manufacturing and production processes to be able to offer a much-needed contribution towards curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Just as we speak, they have become a vital place, which can produce disinfectants such as hand sanitizers from bio-fuel ethanol or use glycerin co-produced from biodiesel, which is an essential component of the process of production of hydro-alcoholic to help meet the needs of hospitals, pharmacies and other institutions during the corona pandemic. These anti-COVID-19 activities have translated into at least dozens of plant sites and factories across Europe, from France to Germany and the CEE region, constantly producing -often donating- and delivering now million liters of alcohol ready to be used. Thanks to these comprehensive measures there is now another local European alternative capable to provide offerings to save lives.

And while biofuels producers are busy helping others and are trying to make a difference out there, there are also voices, who have openly called on the governments of some Member States to suspend or consider implementing derogations to their blending biofuels obligations. Such a backstab to the biofuel sector in the challenging times that are to come would only lead to a halted procedure on transport decarbonization, to a loss of jobs and competitiveness and a detrimental effect not only for European farmers and agriculture but for the EU and its much-awaited climate ambitions as a whole.

Therefore, while the EU is facing the imminent it mustn’t give up on making sure to secure its future. European biofuels do make an essential contribution not only to protein co-production or by diversifying the transport fuel pool and thus making such a strategic infrastructure less vulnerable but also to the Green Deal and the overall climate actions of the EU. Turning a blind eye and walking past without a word from the side of the EU on such initiatives would be a mistake and a step in the wrong direction.

Accepting such propositions would furthermore be in stark contrast on what is currently happening both in the US – where the Environmental Protection Agency has decided not to appeal court ruling challenging the Trump administration’s widespread use of the waivers – and the UK – where the government is in an open consultation to introduce higher blending mandates.

We call on the Commission to send a clear message that decarbonization backtracking won’t be accepted and that it is still committed to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels while ensuring that currently working options will not be hindered.

During the sanitary crisis, the EU needs to not let go of its other priorities. Once the impending threat is over, the “means and how’s” can be further discussed on the way to move forward. Until then, in return, the biofuels sector continues to keep doing what it has been doing: giving working solutions to acute problems that need immediate answers today.


Stefan Schreiber,

President of the Green Energy Platform