EU phase-out of conventional biofuels to cost farmers €2.1bn, producers say

Several European beet and cereal producers have voiced their opposition to phasing out conventional biofuels in Europe, coinciding with the World Ethanol & Biofuels conference in Brussels.

The European Association of Sugar Manufacturers (CEFS), the European Confederation of Maize Production (CEPM), the International Confederation of European Beet Growers (CIBE), and the European renewable ethanol producers association (ePURE) have issued a joint letter to the European Commission.

In the commission, the organisations strongly oppose any phasing out of EU support for conventional biofuels produced in Europe from crops and feedstock that have been grown in Europe.

The letter warns that any plan to phase out conventional ethanol, produced from crops such as corn, wheat, and sugar beet, would not be scientifically justified, will rob transport of a credible green alternative, and will cost European cereal and beet farmers at least €2.1 billion in revenue per year.

In order to strengthen the sustainability of Europe’s biofuels policy post-2020, the EU should support the European biofuels sector, the letter reads, stating that biofuels produced from crops and feedstocks grown in Europe already operate under the most sustainable farming conditions in the world.

In addition, the authors call for the EU to ensure that imported biofuels are regulated and managed to the same high degree of sustainability criteria that govern biofuels produced in Europe.

“The Commission’s suggestion to phase out after 2020 perfectly sustainable conventional biofuels, such as European ethanol, is neither justified nor a solution and will kill a market worth billions of euros to our financially struggling farmers”, said Robert Wright, secretary-general at ePURE.