GUE/NGL
News

Weak deal on biofuels falls short on environmental protection

GUE/NGL has expressed disappointment following today's European Parliament plenary vote on changes to EU biofuels policy.

MEPs gave their green light to modifications to the current policy which is set out in the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives.

Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná, who follows the file for the group, commented: “Supporting first generation biofuels was an exceptionally problematic issue, and the EU made a huge mistake when putting the original directive together. Many crucial factors were overlooked and the policy had a detrimental impact on the environment, reduced our food self-sufficiency, and increased food prices.

“Today we voted on the result of almost five years of inter-institutional negotiations on a review of this policy. I had great expectations but they were not met. The final text is only a slightly improved version of the original proposal from 2009. We entered the final negotiations with a very strong document; however the result is nothing but a huge defeat for the environment and for the European Parliament – on all the important issues the rapporteur surrendered Parliament's position and succumbed to pressure from the member states and from European lobby groups representing the biofuels industry.”

Current EU biofuels policy has been widely criticised for not taking into account greenhouse gas emissions associated with indirect land use change (ILUC) which can be triggered when existing agricultural production shifts to uncultivated land, both inside and outside the EU.

Konečná continued: “While the new deal means the EU target for first generation biofuels will be reduced from 10% to 7%, the original cap at the outset of talks was 6%. Losing this 6% cap in the negotiations was disappointing. The deal also completely fails to factor in emissions associated with ILUC. All the Commission has to do is report on these biofuels but member states won't need to account for them or reduce them.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group