Drawing the conclusions of a working group meeting of the European Social Dialogue Committee for the Paper Sector on the EU bio-energy policy in the context of the current and future climate and energy ambitions of the European Union, IndustriAll European Trade Union and CEPI participants:
• Acknowledge the potential benefits that bio-energy can deliver in terms of climate change mitigation, as well as increased security of energy supply. These benefits can be delivered if certain conditions are fulfilled, in particular in terms of reliable carbon accounting, and in terms of sustainable sourcing of the feedstocks.
• Stress the fact that the pulp and paper sector, as an energy-intensive industrial sector which is facing high raw material prices on the biomass market at the same time, is in a difficult position. Hence, the impact of the EU bio-energy policy on competitiveness and employment in the European pulp and paper sector is of major concern to us.
• Identify a risk of distorted competition on the biomass markets, mainly due to the targets set and the related support/subsidies mechanisms put in place by the Member States.
Therefore, IndustriAll European Trade Union and CEPI call on the EU to:
• Strengthen policies that proportionally promote the efficient use/conversion of biomass;
• Establish a real sustainable biomass supply policy that supports the current demand-driven policies. Such policy should include provisions to increase the biomass potential in Europe, and to better mobilise the needed feedstocks.
• Place the “cascading use” principle at the core of its climate and energy policy, with a view to ensure the most efficient use of the available biomass, in particular to contribute to the EU growth and jobs objectives.
• Identify and possibly remove subsidies that encourage inefficient use of biomass and distort fair competition on the biomass markets.