On 8 November, Jean-Eric Paquet, the European Commission’s Director-General for Research and Innovation, participated in the BIOEAST conference – “Bioeconomy in the forefront of national policies”, organized in Budapest by Hungary’s Ministry of Agriculture together with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The event focused on exploring the opportunities of developing bioeconomy strategies at both national and regional levels in Central and Eastern Europe, linking closely to the EU’s recently published Bioeconomy Strategy.
In his opening speech, Mr. Paquet praised Hungary for its commitment to create a national bioeconomy strategy and the pro-active role it has taken to roll out regional bioeconomies within the framework of the BIOEAST initiative, which encompasses Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Director-General Pacquet said: “Rolling out the EU Bioeconomy Strategy across Europe is a shared responsibility with the Member States and private actors. The BIOEAST initiative has done a great job in developing a clear vision through its Vision Paper to improve the sustainable growth of knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in Central and Eastern Europe. We should use this good momentum and take the initiative to the next level.”
Secretary of State Feldman said: „From the Hungarian point of view it is crucial to mention that when we are talking about bioeconomy, we talk about the possible solution for the global and local challenges we face specifically linked to climate change and economic viability. All stakeholders from Central and Eastern European countries need to work closely together to further develop common solution process for the regional challenges. Accordingly the conference outcome is expected to contribute to the development of a macro-regional and sector specific strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the Central and Eastern European Bioeconomies’. We are thankful for the Commission for following and supporting the BIOEAST initiative. Now it is our countries’ duty to live with the given chance to strengthen it and become more visible.”
The European bioeconomy is one of the EU’s largest and most important sectors encompassing agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, bio-energy and bio-based products with an annual turnover of around 2 trillion euro and employing around 18 million people.
On 11 October 2018, the European Commission put forward an action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe’s society, environment and economy. The strategy foresees a concerted effort by public authorities and industry. To drive this collective effort, and based on three key objectives, the Commission will launch 14 concrete measures in 2019, including:
- Scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors;
- Rapidly deploying bioeconomies across Europe; and
- Protecting the ecosystem and understanding the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy.