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Agriculture

European Parliament divided as transport committee rejects RED II opinion

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European Parliament divided as transport committee rejects RED II opinion

London — The European Parliament Transport Committee (TRAN) rejected the opinion put forward by Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout on the post-2020 Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) Thursday, pointing to divisions over where EU biofuels policy should be heading, according to the EU Biofuel Chain.

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In the run-up to the vote, the EU Biofuels Chain, which represents eight industry associations, had called on TRAN to adopt a renewable energy target for transport but without phasing out crop-based biofuels.

The whole process around RED II amendments has been fraught with a lack of a uniform opinion. A lack of agreement on the environment committee's (ENVI) proposal on the phase-out of crop-based biofuels, led TRAN to vote on the "original text based on Rule 174(3)," essentially the text initially proposed by the European Commission. TRAN rejected the overall opinion with 30 MEPs voting against and 11 endorsing it.

The EU Biofuel Chain said that given the importance of this file for the EU transport sector, it would have been appropriate to see the opinion of all involved MEPs and committees equally considered, but the outcome of Friday's vote meant a TRAN opinion would not be considered by ENVI.

"Although TRAN and ENVI share the same rapporteur on RED II, today's vote is contradictory and reflects the fragile position adopted in the ENVI committee opinion. It clearly demonstrates the parliament's division on the overall file, and now the parliament's plenary will have the final word on the direction of the EU biofuels policy," said the Secretary General of the European Biodiesel Board Raffaello Garofalo.

The next stage will be a European Council meeting on RED II around mid-December and if proceedings run smoothly, the final decision should be expected in early 2018.

--Chrysa Glystra, chrysa.glystra@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com