March 2020
- Climate and Energy
Potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the European Biofuels Value Chain
TO: Frans Timmermans Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal European Commission CC: Diederik Samsom, Head of Cabinet Riccardo Maggi, Member of Cabinet RE: Potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the European Biofuels Value Chain Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans, The European Associations representing the European Biofuels Value Chain would like to bring to your attention the potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our chain and address possible mitigations measures. Biofuels production delivers valuable co-products, including animal feed for the livestock sector, allowing the EU to reduce its dependence on imported feed meals to supply its existing protein deficit, to the benefit of both livestock and arable producers, and have a positive impact on the EU’s trade balance and food security for its citizens. The production of the European Biofuels Value Chain is severely affected by the strong drop in fuel consumption and the corresponding reduction in the demand for our products, accentuated by the drop in fuel prices. This puts a further strain on the availability of EU produced protein supplies for livestock and hence impacts the animal production chains. In spite of the inevitable restrictions put in place, all of our members and employees are working hard to ensure the proper production and supply of current market demands, both for biofuels and their by-products. This includes European ethanol producers cooperating with Member States where needed to ensure the production and supply of ethyl alcohol for hand sanitizer, including by unlocking stocks to respond to the specific higher demand and by producing hydro-alcoholic gel. The same applies to the producers of biodiesel, a co-product of which is glycerine, a critical raw material for the production of hydro-alcoholic gel. Although the European Biofuels Value Chain sectors experience no difficulty in meeting the existing - decreasing – demand for biofuels, it has come to our attention that some Member States are considering implementing derogations to their blending obligations. If implemented, such derogations would exacerbate the negative effects already experienced by our sectors and:
  • Quickly lead to a shutdown of biofuels production units due to a further reduction of demand;
  • Jeopardise the continuous supply of strategic products due to their integration in our industrial production;
  • Reduce the production of the much-needed hydro-alcoholic gel;
  • Impact the proper functioning of the EU internal market for fuels, since biofuels are distributed cross-borders;
  • Increase difficulties in the supply of the European animal feeding stuffs;
  • Go against the proposed European Green Deal and jeopardise the European renewable energy and climate commitments, while the Commission clearly stated that “climate action must not be obscured by more urgent and immediate challenges.”
In view of the above, we respectfully ask you to instruct your services to remain vigilant concerning the potential introduction of such measures in any Member State, and to cautiously consider any request for approval of measures that might further disrupt the critical work of the European Biofuels Value Chain. Yours sincerely, The European Biofuels Value Chain
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