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EP Transport Committee rejects RED II opinion - shows strong division

The European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) has voted against the opinion on the post-2020 EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) put forward by rapporteur MEP Bas Eickhout thus not endorsing the Environment Committee’s (ENVI) position on conventional crop-based biofuels. TRAN's rejection of RED II opinion shows how strongly divided the European Parliament is on crop-based biofuels said the EU Biofuels Value Chain in a joint statement.

Rapeseed is an oilseed widely grown as a rotational crop in Europe and North America.

The Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) has rejected rapporteur MEP Bas Eickhout’s opinion on the post-2020 EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). Due to a lack of agreement on the outcome of the Environment Committee’s (ENVI) proposal on the phase-out of crop-based biofuels, TRAN had opted to vote on the “Original text based on Rule 174(3)”, de facto referring to the text initially proposed by the European Commission (EC). TRAN rejected the overall opinion with 30 MEPs voting against and 11 endorsing it.

According to the EU Biofuels Value Chain, a consortium of eight European trade associations that between them represent farmers and feedstock growers, vegetable oil and oilmeal processors along with ethanol and biodiesel producers, TRAN’s decision to reject the opinion put forward by MEP Bas Eickhout and not to endorse the “hardline” Environment Committee’s (ENVI) position on conventional biofuels, is “yet another sign of the divisions over where EU biofuels policy should be heading – and comes at a time when support for transport decarbonisation is needed more than ever”.

Speaking on behalf of the eight associations representing the EU Biofuels Value Chain, Copa and Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen stated that “the EU Biofuels Chain could not welcome TRAN’s endorsement of the Commission’s original proposal – entailing a phase – out of the use of biofuels by 2030 – since that would seriously undermine the EU’s climate and sustainability objectives.

The rejection of the overall report, however, provides a strong political signal that the biofuels issue is complex and that finding a common view among the different parliamentary committees, and at a plenary level, will be extremely challenging, said Pesonen.

Given the importance of this file for the EU transport sector, and the impact the European Commission’s proposal would have on EU climate goals and our industrial and agricultural sectors, it would have been appropriate to see the opinion of all involved MEPs and Committees equally considered. The outcome of today’s vote means a TRAN opinion will not be considered by ENVI, which has exclusive competence on the sustainability criteria (article 25) and treatment of conventional biofuels (article 7).

Dried distiller’s grains, an important animal feed co-product of corn ethanol production.

In the run-up to this vote, the EU Biofuels Chain had called upon TRAN to adopt a dedicated target for the use of renewable energy in the transport sector, and called for a halt on the proposed phase-out of crop-based biofuels, which the group says are “essential” to agricultural sustainability and represent the “most cost-effective and readily available solution to decarbonise the transport sector”. These elements are crucial to create a policy framework which supports all sustainable forms of renewable energy and contributes to the reduction of fossil fuels’ use and protein feed imports.

Although TRAN and ENVI share the same rapporteur on RED II, today’s vote is contradictory and reflects the fragile position adopted in the ENVI Committee opinion. It clearly demonstrates the Parliament’s division on the overall file, and now the Parliament’ s plenary will have the final word on the direction of the EU biofuels policy, said Raffaello Garofalo  Secretary-General of the European Biodiesel Board (EBB).

About EU Biofuels Value Chain

The following associations are members; European Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry (FEDIOL), European Biodiesel Board (EBB), European Renewable Ethanol Association (ePURE), European Oilseed Alliance (EOA),

European Association of Cereals, Rice, Feedstuffs, Oilseeds, Olive oil, Oils and Fats and Agrosupply (COCERAL), International Confederation of European Beet Growers (C.I.B.E), European Confederation of Maize Production (CEPM) and Copa & Cogeca.

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