In July 2016, the Commission proposed a gradual phase-out of food-based biofuels, which should be replaced by “more advanced biofuels” which do not compete with food crops [See background].
The draft legislation is currently being scrutinised by European Parliament committees, which are preparing their opinions on it. A vote in the plenary is expected in January 2018.
The Commission’s proposal has triggered mixed reactions. Several environmental NGOs believe the EU executive is moving in the right direction and urge it to go further by imposing a full ban.
On the other hand, the biofuels industry, especially bioethanol, has long called for a system to differentiate between biofuels based on sustainability criteria. Bioethanol producers claim that Europe should focus on phasing out fossil fuels as well as biofuels that compete for land with food crops and drive deforestation, such as palm oil.