The bio-based industries sector could provide the EU with innovative solutions and propel it into the leading position in innovation, with the aim of significantly reducing its dependency on fossil-based products, helping it meet climate change targets and leading to greener and more environmentally friendly growth.

The existing public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-Based Industries (BBI) Consortium is one substantial effort that aims to tackle some of society's major challenges. The benefits are numerous, ranging from boosting job creation in rural and underdeveloped areas to reducing CO2 emissions by at least 50% compared with fossil-based alternatives.

Consequently, the governing procedures for this initiative are of crucial importance to the EU institutions and the Member States. However, it has been noted that some Member States have not appointed a representative, namely Cyprus, Greece and Malta.

Is there any official justification for these countries' lack of representation?

Has the Commission set explicit deadlines for the Member States to appoint their representatives?

Could the lack of particular representatives affect the overall progress and strategy of the BBI initiative?

Answer given by Mr Moedas on behalf of the Commission

The States Representative Group (SRG) is part of the governance of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU)(1), as an advisory body. Article 11(1) of the Statutes of the BBI JU(2) provides that SRG consists of one representative of each Member State and of each country associated with Horizon 2020(3). According to Article 2(6) of the SRG Rules of Procedure, a Member State or an associated country which did not nominate a representative can send a person of its choice to attend the SRG meetings as an observer with no voting rights.

On 7 July 2014, the Commission invited all Member States and associated countries to nominate their representative in the SRG, with an indicative deadline of 15 July 2014. The Commission reiterated this invitation on 23 July 2014, but Cyprus, Greece and Malta did not reply to any of these invitations. Both the BBI JU office(4) and the chair of the SRG(5) reminded these three countries to nominate a representative by 10 March 2016. On 24 February 2016, Malta welcomed the invitation and reassured its support to the BBI initiative, but also informed that it would not nominate a national representative. On 8 August 2016, Greece nominated two representatives.

As the strategy and progress of the BBI initiative are largely set by the members of the BBI Consortium(6), the non-participation of countries in the SRG — which has an advisory role — does not significantly affect the overall initiative. However, it does affect the information flow to research organisations and industries in the countries not involved in the SRG, and may thereby affect their participation in the initiative. Thus, the Commission takes this opportunity to reassert the importance of appointment by all Member States and associated countries of a representative (or at least an observer) to the SRG of the BBI JU.

(1) The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking —
(2) Annex to Council Regulation (EU) No 560/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 130.
(3) The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)
(4) On 10 February 2016
(5) On 12 February 2016
(6) The private partner of the initiative,