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Brussels, 13th September 2010

Commission and Belgian Presidency hold major conference on a sustainable Bio-economy and exhibition including the first bio-based tyre

The European Commission, together with the Belgian Presidency, holds tomorrow (14 September) in Brussels (The Square, rue Mont des Arts) a conference on building a Knowledge based BioEconomy. The European bio-economy is estimated to be worth over € 2 trillion, employing around 22 million people, and the prospects for further growth are promising. Senior scientists, stakeholders and European and national policy makers will take part in the conference. Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will, along with other leading personalities, give a press conference at the venue at 11h00. Partly based on the conference results, the European Commission will launch this autumn an open consultation on the "EU strategy towards a sustainable bio-based economy 2020", which will lead into a policy Communication in the second half of next year. Alongside the conference, an exhibition of selected bio-based products will range from food and feed to the prototype of the first bio-based tyre, a collaboration between European and US industry. The Commission will also host the International Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy Forum on 15 September 2010.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn said: "The Belgian Presidency and the Commission are in complete agreement about the need for a more coherent approach to the bio-economy in the EU, and this conference is an important step. The bio-economy has the potential to address many of the things Europeans care most about: food security, reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and industry, providing healthy food at affordable cost, supporting coastal and rural development, reducing and recycling of bio-waste."

However, research policy in this area is fragmented between Member States and some industrial technologies are subject to increasing competition from overseas. The European Commission wants to increase coherence at both European and national level, with a stronger engagement of end-users, so that new ideas can be brought more rapidly to the European marketplace and so that societal challenges are better addressed.

Generating new uses for renewable natural resources will enable Europe to boost the role of rural and coastal economies, including agriculture, forest-based, and marine resources. Meanwhile, environmental restrictions on agricultural production, together with intensified competition for land for feed and food, will require new approaches to ensure the availability of safe, nutritious and affordable food.

An enhanced dialogue with non-EU countries will be crucial to tackling global challenges such as guaranteeing food security while adapting to a changing climate and reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and industry.

One example of increased international cooperation is the creation of the "International Forum on the Knowledge based Bio-Economy", with the participation of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Forum will meet on September 15 in Brussels.


The Commission is investing about €2 billion in European Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology research through the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7). The current call for proposals to help build the Knowledge Based BioEconomy is worth €240 million.

The knowledge based bio-economy generates sustainable growth by using renewable biological resources from land and aquatic environment as inputs to sectors such as the food and feed industries, chemicals, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles, bio-fuels and biogas. Progress in the biosciences helps “green” industry, reduce waste, and enhance consumer protection and well-being. It encompasses established economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, food and chemicals and energy which, in many cases, benefit from a whole chain approach to production and processing.

Arrangements for journalists

Journalists wishing to attend the event and/or the press conference should please mail

Link to our current call:

Link to KBBE on CORDIS:

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