Bioeconomy talks with Vice-President Katainen
On 10 March 2015 European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness attended the kick-off meeting of the “Bioeconomy” working group of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” chaired by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri.

During the dinner debate, entitled “Where’s the Bioeconomy: update your knowledge”, Vice President Katainen stressed the importance of the Single Market in boosting the bioeconomy sectors in Europe. If Europe manages to ensure a competitive and stable market that boosts sustainable growth a competitive advantage will be created, he argued.

In this light, the high environmental standards that Europe has put in place doesn’t have to be seen as an obstacle, he said, but as an opportunity to step up innovative solutions and job creation. Mr Katainen also mentioned the need for harmonised rules in Europe on how we define sustainability.

The European Bioeconomy Alliance, of which CEPF is a member, highlighted the need for clear and predictable policy frameworks in order to boost bioeconomy.

In the discussions among the participants several aspects were raised, for example the important role of primary producers in the bioeconomy and the circular economy, the specificity of different regional situations when it comes to biomass and the importance of raising awareness of the wide public about the potential of the bioeconomy. The discussion also came into the issue of the cascading principle, where Waldmar Kûtt from DG Research and Innovation confirmed that this is being increasingly discussed within the Commission. CEPF highlighted the fact that we have raw material available in Europe which can be further mobilized without jeopardizing sustainability and that EU driven regulations on the use of biomass are not supported by forest owners.

Participants to the meeting included MEP Linnea Engström, MEP Henna Virkkunen, MEP Sean Kelly, MEP Paavo Väyrynen, MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki, as well as stakeholder representatives from BIC, EuropaBio, CEPI, Copa-Cogeca, CEFS, CEPF, ePURE, Starch Europe and Metsä Group.