Developing rural areas across Europe has emerged as a necessity in order for the EU to meet a wide range of economic, environmental and social challenges.
Referring to these challenges, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan recently said: “Our rural and agricultural communities are part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Last November, the Commission presented its draft proposal on reviewing the Renewable Energy Directive for the post-2020 period as part of a Clean Energy Package, proposing a gradual phase-out of first generation biofuels by 2030.
According to EU farmers’ union Copa-Cogeca, the EU’s renewable energy and biofuels targets led to €16 billion of investments that generated 220,000 jobs, which are now at risk.
Does the EU executive’s biofuels strategy pose a threat to the development of EU rural areas?
EU farmers are “very concerned” about the impact of the European Commission’s change of heart on biofuels, claiming the EU's restrictive policy is putting thousands of rural jobs at risk.
The European Commission’s “unstable” policy on biofuels has created uncertainty among investors and undermines the market as a whole, the head of the EU farmers’ lobby told EURACTIV.com.
The conflict between second and first generation biofuels – depicted as good and bad for the environment – only exists in Brussels. In fact, it’s the brainchild of the European Commission, Eric Sievers told EURACTIV.com.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said he was “ready” to continue the discussion on the EU executive's proposals on biofuels and see if there is something that “can be refined at a later stage”.
Farmers see biofuels as a crucial source of income but investors clashed with NGOs at an event organised by EURACTIV last week (12 May), over the European Commission’s post-2020 biofuels proposal and the realities of its impact on rural areas.