EU Energy Ministers miss the mark on biofuels policy

At today’s EU Energy Ministers Council, Ministers approved a proposal to amend the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive and Fuel Quality Directive. If adopted, this would see a 7% cap on food-based biofuels as well as the reporting of Member States on Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC ) and the real environmental impact of biofuels.

Regarding today’s decision on biofuels, Marc-Olivier Herman, Oxfam’s EU biofuels expert, said:

“Today’s deal on biofuels is a brazen assault on common sense. In a starving world, phasing out the use of food for fuel is the only sensible thing to do.”

“With the stalemate on biofuels talks finally broken, the ball is back in the European Parliament’s court. We stand in disbelief at today’s joint statement of Poland, France and Spain attempting to block any negotiation with the Parliament on the level of the cap on food-based biofuels. Newly elected MEPs now have an opportunity to show their clout and demonstrate in whose interest they serve.”

“If the proposal adopted by European Ministers today were to go unchanged, European taxpayers will continue to foot a multibillion bill for a policy that fuels hunger, land grabs and deforestation , while actually exacerbating climate change”.

Notes to Editors

The proposal will now head to the European Parliament who will hold a ‘second reading’ in September in an attempt to reconcile differences with the Councils amendments. The Parliament had previously voted for a 6% cap on biofuels in September 2013, an increase from the 5% originally recommended by the Commission.

France, Spain, Poland and other Eastern European Member States issued a joint statement at today’s meeting stating that the 7% limit on food based biofuels is the “lowest acceptable level” and that they will only allow the legislative process to proceed if “it is not be a subject of any further modification”. The UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland have restated their support for a lower limit on food-based biofuels.

More information

The Hunger Grains: The fight is on. Time to scrap EU biofuels mandate

FAQs on biofuels

Contact information: 

Angela Corbalan +32 (0)2 234 11 15 or