The EU's agriculture ministers held a policy debate on the Commission's biomass action plan and its European strategy for biofuels on 20 February 2006. They welcomed both initiatives but also expressed concerns about their agricultural production. Some governments want to restrict the imports of biofuels (esp. ethanol) from countries such as Brazil and encourage domestic production of biofuels (esp. biodiesel, where the EU is already world leader).
Some of the new EU member states insisted on being included in the current energy crop system that allows the EU to pay farmers a premium of 45 euros per hectare of land used for energy crops (cereals, sugar beet) production. This incentive system was introduced during the last CAP reform but can only be used by the old member states now.
The EU will review this energy crop scheme by the end of 2006.
The farm ministers will come back to the bio-energy debate in their March meeting.