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Emmanuel Desplechin is the Secretary General of ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association.
On that score, a pending mega-deal between the EU and the South American bloc known as Mercosur doesn’t quite live up to its promise. By agreeing to open its markets to Brazilian ethanol, the EU will contradict its own efforts to increase renewable energy sources in transport, kill incentives to invest in new technology, and make life even tougher for Europe’s already struggling farmers.
After more than a decade of slow-going talks, the EU and the Mercosur nations are suddenly in a hurry to finish, wrapping up the largest trade deal ever negotiated by the EU perhaps even by the end of this year. But Brazil has made the deal conditional on getting access to the EU market for its sugar cane and corn-based ethanol.
It would be a strange moment for Brussels to make such a move, considering it is at the same time pushing to phase out crop-based biofuels – including both Brazilian ethanol and renewable EU ethanol produced from European feedstock.
Which raises the obvious question: Why would the EU want to shrink the market for a fuel that helps it decarbonize its transport sector and reduce engine pollutants in today’s vehicle fleet, and then offer what’s left of that market to Brazilian producers and sugar cane farmers?