Brussels, 16 Jun 2004
WHO? Philippe BUSQUIN, European Commissioner for Research
Feike SIJBESMA (NL), President of EuropaBio
Andrzej LEGOCKI (PL), President of the Polish Academy of Sciences
WHAT? Press briefing on "Plants for the future – Vision 2025"
WHEN? 24 June 2004 approx. 12:30-13:30 (followed by a media lunch)
WHERE? European Commission, press room, Breydel building, Avenue d'Auderghem 45, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
At the initiative of the European Commission, leading representatives from the food and biotech industry, research, farming community and consumers' organisations have developed a long-term strategy for European plant biotechnology towards 2025. The outcome is a vision paper on "Plants for the future" which will be presented on 24 June 2004 in Brussels. The 2025 vision paper will form the basis for establishing a technology platform on plant biotechnology in co-operation with all stakeholders.
The "vision paper" outlines how plant biotechnology can help address major European socio-economic challenges, such as:
- securing a high quality, safe and diverse food supply through sustainable agriculture;
- replacing fossil-fuel based non-renewable products with bio-products from renewable plant resources
- and maintaining the competitiveness of European agri-food industries.
The vision paper also sets major goals to be reached within the next 20 years and outlines the short and long-term research priorities and necessary actions to be taken to reach these goals. It calls for the establishment of a technology platform - a strategic technology alliance to foster public-private partnerships between all relevant stakeholders, such as the research community, industry, financial institutions, regulators, farmers, environmental groups, consumers, EU Member States and regions. All stakeholders will be invited to participate in the advisory council and working groups of the platform, which will become fully operational in the second half of 2004 and which will be supported by a joint secretariat of EPSO, EuropaBio and the European Commission.
The mandate of the technology platform and its working groups will be to develop a coherent strategic research agenda and detailed action plan by the end of 2004. Implementation of the action plan should help to reverse the slowdown in EU plant biotechnology research and industrial competitiveness, which presents a severe challenge for the long term growth of the European agri-food sector. The sector's research efforts and competitiveness contributes to the growing market relevance of industries such as the food and beverage business, which accounts for a €600 billion-a-year turnover in Europe alone.
Also attending the briefing (available for interviews):
- Eggert VOSCHERAU, President of CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council, and Vice-chair of the board of BASF,
- Pierre PAGESSE, Presidium Member of COGECA, the General Confederation of Agricultural Co-operatives in the European Union, and President of Limagrain (FR),
- Ricardo SERRA ARIAS, Vice-President of COPA, Committee of Agricultural Organisations in the European Union, and Vice-President of ASAJA (ES),
- Sten MOBERG, President of ESA, the European Seed Association, and of CEO Svalöf Weibull Seed Group (SE),
- Marc ZABEAU; President of EPSO, the European Plant Science Organisation
- Federico MAYOR, former Director-General of UNESCO, Autonomous University of Madrid, President of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, ES,
- Peter FOLSTAR, Director of the Netherlands Genomics Initiative, NL and co-ordinator of the ERA-NET plant genomics project,
- Mohamed H.A. HASSAN, Executive Director of the Third World Academy of Sciences
For the biotechnology action plan and progress reports of the European Commission please see: http:///europa.eu.int/comm/biotechnology and press release (IP/04/531 of 23 April 2004).
The text of the vision paper will be available on the following web sites:
- EPSO: http://www.epsoweb.org/catalog/TP/index. htm,
- EuropaBio: http://www.europabio.org/plant_genomics_ platform.htm.
Agriculture, Biotechnology, and food directorate, Research DG, European Commission
Tel. +32 2 294145, E-mail: Waldemar.Kutt @ cec.eu.int
Michael H. Wappelhorst, Press and information officer
Information and communication Unit, Research DG, European Commission
Tel: +32.2.298 75 75, Fax: +32.2.295 82 20
E-Mail: Michael.Wappelhorst @ cec.eu.int