EC delays bioeconomy strategy review

The fate of the bioeconomy in Europe remains undecided. The evaluation of the European Commission’s bioeconomy strategy plus action plan has been delayed.


According to Gilles Laroche, Head of Unit F1 – Bioeconomy Strategy- at DG Research and Innovation, “the review won’t be finalised before mid-2017 and the results will be available only in autumn 2017”. Prior plans foresaw the announcement of the results at the end of 2016. “The review will provide the Commission with the facts and figures on how the strategy has been implemented over the last three years, which will enable us to robustly underpin decisions about the future orientation of the strategy”, John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy, told European Biotechnology in an interview

A Brussels insider said he was concerned about the fate of the bioeconomy programme, which has already attracted huge investments from the biotech industry. The European Commission’s (EC) working plan 2016/17, which lays the foundation for future funding calls, didn’t mention the bioeconomy once. The review of the bioeconomy strategy and action plan is thus thought to form the foundation for a decision on whether the bioeconomy will be funded independently or absorbed into the circular economy strategy, a huge waste prevention programme. In the programme, promoted by EC Vice President Frans Timmermans, biotech’s role is still up in the air. “Bioeconomy is a broader concept than the circular economy”, the insider stressed, “It’s renewable, carbon-neutral, and offers reusability in cascades and products with completely new properties.”

Currently, the EC is setting up an expert group, including experts from national bioeconomy councils, that will review the strategy and action plan adopted in 2012. According to Laroche, a European Manifesto for Bioeconomy is also in preparation and is due to be published around mid-2017.


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