magnus matisonsMagnus Matisons, Biofuel Region and the Bio4Energy Industrial Network, is a new representative for Sweden on the European Union Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel. Photo by courtesy of Magnus Matisons.

Ever wished you had a voice in Brussels, to express your thoughts to European Union officials about what the EU should or should not do to promote the transition to a bioeconomy?

If you are in the Scandinavian part of Bio4Energy's network, chances are that you do.

In spring 2016 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Bio4Energy Industrial Network received an e-mail from the European Commission to say he had been elected a member of the European Union Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel. The Commission's research and innovation branch started up the panel in 2013 and now, with a newly elected membership for its second mandate, Sweden has no less than four representative on it.

"That's breaking a record", to believe Matisons.

Matisons is a well-known figure in forestry and biorefinery circles in northern Sweden. He has worked both as a scientist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and, more recently, as project leader with Biofuel Region, which organisation works to promote biorefinery development across northern Sweden.

Having attended an upstart meeting of the recently elected panel membership in June, Matisons said he looked forward to meeting the group of bioeconomy stakeholder representatives again when the panel gets down to business 13 September. According to a description of the panel and its work on the European Union's Europa portal, the panel will be made up of 25-30 representatives from civil society organisations, NGOs, industry, media, local and regional authorities, foundations and associations;

"The Panel will work on bioeconomy policy challenges, including on synergies with related policy areas like food and nutrition security. It will.. contribute to the review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. The Panel is expected to meet in plenary session around four times a year, with the possibility of ad-hoc sub-group meetings being held in between".

Matisons, for his part, said he was honoured to have been appointed a member.

"I am going to work to strengthen the role of the forest in climate [change] and energy policy. On a practical level it will be about realising our aim of [giving incentive to] biorefinery based on forest-sourced materials", Matisons said.

He is one of the masterminds behind a Swedish interregional project at the development stage called Regions Together for Bioeconomic Development (in Swedish: Regional samverkan för bioekonomisk utveckling). 

"The regions will be able to communicate through me. I will try to create an understanding for the conditions on the ground in northern Scandinavia. Forests make up 97 per cent of the arable land here. We have to [tend and work in] our forests and use that resource. But it has to be sustainable. We can have a discussion [on the panel] about what constitutes sustainable forestry", Matisons said. He added that the 97 per cent were an average figure for the four northerly counties of Sweden over which most of the Biofuel Region and Bio4Energy partners are spread.

Matisons said that, as a panel member, he would be representing the forestry industry in northern Sweden and initiatives that develop and promote wood-and-waste-based biorefinery, "such as yours and SP Processum and others.

"I am going to have be a good listener. I have a clear mandate from Swedish regions but I have to listen in what the various biorefinery stakeholders want, including those who are in agriculture.

"Since the bioeconomy concept is [relatively] new perhaps there are actors who don't see themselves as stakeholders. Take Sweden's large chipping operators, for starters. In fact, to my mind, Sweden might be one of Europe's most developed bioeconomies… 

"I also look forward to learning more about what other stakeholders think of the bioeconomy concept and what kind of reality they are facing" in their home countries across the European continent.

Sweden's recently elected, or re-elected, representatives on the EU Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel include:

Johan Elvnert, European Forest Technology Platform

Maria Hollander, Paper Province (biorefinery incubator in mid Sweden)

Kjell Ivarsson, Lantmännens Riksförbund/COPA-COGECA (Brussels-based agricultural trade union)

Magnus Matisons, Biofuel Region and the Bio4Energy Industrial Network

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