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Sustainable bioeconomy for Europe through regional strategies and partnerships  

Regions and cities need to work together across administrative borders to unleash the potential of bioeconomy in terms of growth and jobs and its contribution to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, the European Committee of the Regions underlines in an opinion drafted by Jácint Horváth (HU/PES), Member of Nagykanizsa Municipal Council.

Following the European Commission's recent proposal to update EU's bioeconomy strategy, Mr Horváth's opinion encourages all European regions to adopt bioeconomy action plans by late 2024 or to provide for a chapter dedicated to the bioeconomy in their smart specialisation strategies. Furthermore, given that the ecological boundaries of bioeconomy go beyond administrative ones, there is a need for interregional strategies and bioeconomy partnerships across Europe.

The opinion highlights that European, national, regional and local initiatives on the bioeconomy need to be aligned to establish optimal conditions for bioeconomy's development in Europe. It urges public authorities to support the development of bio-sourced products and solutions through green public procurement and by helping SMEs in their technology and business conversion processes towards the bioeconomy.

"Aid regimes need to be fine-tuned in order to develop technologies connected to bio-sourced products which have a low market value but can replace fossil fuels. We can increase market demand for bio-based products by developing clearer pricing mechanisms for bioenergy, improving its competitiveness against fossil resources and raising awareness among the consumers", rapporteur Hórvath says.

"Local and regional authorities are pivotal when it comes to implementing EU cohesion policy and regional smart specialisation strategies which co-finance programmes and projects bolstering the bioeconomy. It is also necessary to increase complementarities between EU's different financing instruments, including structural funds, Common Agricultural Policy and the InvestEU programme," the rapporteur continues.

Currently, the 28 Member States apply different rules to both the streams of biomass, which are the main raw materials used in key bioeconomy value chains, and to the waste streams produced during processing. Therefore, the opinion points out the need to align legislation and to develop a single set of indicators to provide information on regions' performance in the field of bioeconomy, taking into account both economic and environmental factors.

Members of the European Committee of the Regions will adopt Mr Horváths draft opinion at this week's plenary session on Wednesday 26 June, following a debate on the Sustainable Development Goals with Jyrki Katainen, European Commission's Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.



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