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Friday, 23 September 2011

Energy use of biomass of agricultural origin

At the 3110th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 20 September 2011, the ministers held an exchange of views on the “Energy use of biomass of agricultural origin as an important element of the Common Agricultural Policy” (13910/11). All delegations welcomed the initiative from the Presidency to initiate a debate on how agriculture should contribute to the objectives of the Strategy 2020 concerning climate change.

Concerning the role of CAP in supporting sustainable development of renewable energy sources in rural areas, a large majority delegations recalled that the main role of agriculture in the EU treaties is to provide food to the European citizens. Any specific agricultural policy on biomass should not be detrimental to this objective. For this reason, such a policy should focus on a better use of byproducts and residues of agriculture and the agri-food industry.

If many Member States were in favour of the development of dispersed renewable energy sources using locally available biomass resources, they noted that should be correctly planned in order to provide efficient replies to the needs.

On the question to know if climate and economic reasons sufficiently justify obtaining increasing quantities of biomass for energy purposes from distant locations (e.g.: by imports from third countries) most of the member states highlighted that this is not desirable. Certain delegations noted that this issue should be assessed to know the exact carbon cost of this imports. Many member states consider that the CAP, in its second pillar dedicated to rural development, provides already measures for taking into account the inclusion of the EU climate objectives in the agriculture.

Source: Council of Ministers