How did everything start ?


EU mandatory set-aside in the framework of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to address agricultural production surplus and regularly depressed global prices; the non-food production on these set-aside lands allowed the production of proteins and biodiesel to reduce the need to import it, maintaining the producer’s revenues while simultaneously controlling the supply of cereals.


EU policy for biofuels, setting a voluntary objective of 5.75% renewable energy in transport for 2010.


EU Renewable Energy Directive, setting a 10% target of renewable energy in transport for 2020, aiming at reducing GHG emissions, enhancing EU Energy independence and supporting the EU agricultural sector.


Biodiesel production, promoted via this regulatory framework, doubled; alongside these legislative developments, the European Committee for Normalization (CEN) developed standards for the incorporation of biofuels in conventional fuels: today, the EN 590 standard is applied in the EU, allowing up to 7% of biodiesel blend – B7 - in diesel).


Debates around the ILUC Directive impacted the perception of the biofuel sector and led to an unexpected shift in the European biofuel policies towards advanced biofuels and electrification, without guarantee of a solid first generation market. Discussion culminated in a legislative agreement on a lower cap for conventional biofuels, set at 7% until 2020.

The post-2020 Climate & Energy framework

In November 2016, The European Commission issued its legislative proposal for the Renewable Energy framework that would cover the period 2021-2030.

Following the standardised procedure, the proposal was assessed and amended by both the European Council and Parliament via parallel processes, which concluded into the approval of their general approaches in December 2017 and January 2018 respectively. The negotiating texts would serve as a basis for the tripartite meetings, also known as trilogues, which were held as of February 2018 – gathering negotiating parts from the Commission, the Parliament and the Council – under the lead of the Bulgarian Presidency.

Following five official rounds of negotiations, an agreement among the parts was reached on 14 June calling for:

  • A 32% target for renewable energy by 2030, with an upwards review clause.
  • A 14% renewables target in the transport sector.
  • A cap on conventional biofuels at 2020 consumption levels (plus possible 1% increase) within a 7% maximum cap.
  • 3.5% target by 2030 for advanced biofuels.

Following this political agreement, the text of the Directive will have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Once endorsed by both co-legislators, the updated Renewable Energy Directive will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and will enter into force 20 days after publication. Member States will have to transpose the new elements of the Directive into national law 18 months after its entry into force.