- During the next 6 months, the Belgian executive will influence the main European policies.
- The Finnova Foundation, as a Spanish-Belgian entity, will cover the most relevant information of the semester related to the projects in which it is involved.
04/01/2023, Brussels. The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union began on Monday 1 January, a six-month period in which Belgium will establish the Union’s road map. The Central European country will take over from Spain in this position, within the rotating system of Council presidency. This period will be particularly important due to the European elections to be held between 6 and 9 June, when Europeans will elect the 720 MEPs who will represent them in the European Parliament.
Belgium will set the European agenda in the first quarter of 2024, with the country hosting the European institutions establishing a total of six priorities: defending the rule of law, democracy and unity, strengthening competitiveness, promoting a green and just transition, strengthening the health and social agenda, protecting people and borders, and promoting a global Europe. Among the priorities of the Belgian Presidency, two are directly related to the activity of the Finnova Foundation: strengthening competitiveness and promoting the ecological and just transition.
Competitiveness for SMEs
On competitiveness, this semester will prioritise long-term competitiveness measures, ensuring a level playing field for businesses, especially SMEs, enabling them to compete fairly both within Europe and on the global stage. The Presidency aims to strengthen the role of research, development and innovation to become pioneers in developing and commercialising tailored solutions that boost the resilience and competitiveness of key EU value chains.
The Finnova Foundation has innovation as one of its main pillars. One of the foundation’s main objectives is to support start-ups and SMEs in bringing innovative ideas to life, with a view to strengthening the industrial fabric. An example of this is the Startup Europe Awards (SEUA) methodology, an open innovation tool that allows companies to identify talented startups capable of solving current challenges in multiple areas. This initiative is extremely useful for promoting knowledge sharing, adding value to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helping startups to grow and position themselves in the market. SEUA is a project promoted by the European Commission and supported by the Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament.
Green transition, another key point
The Belgian Presidency underlines the importance of addressing the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Aligned with the Green Pact, the Presidency will place the energy and climate transition at the heart of its priorities. To reduce vulnerabilities to climate change, the Presidency will strive to improve the Union’s circular economy, adaptation and preparedness capacities, sustainable water management and make rapid progress in the development of renewable and low-carbon energy sources and carriers.
Finnova Foundation has a long track record of successful projects aligned with sustainable development advocacy. Currently, Finnova is a partner in the LIFE Costadapta, LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 and LIFE NextFUMIGREEN projects, initiatives that address coastal adaptation to sea level rise, biogas generation from waste and the use of natural fumigants, respectively. In addition, the foundation is also a partner in the RES4City and InnovationThread Accelerator projects, projects that aim to contribute to sustainable development and which also have accelerators that aim to provide start-ups and SMEs with tools to make them competitive and improve their market positioning.
About Finnova Foundation
Finnova is a foundation working for the promotion and development of innovation and entrepreneurship at EU level. Based in Brussels, it operates through collaborations and partnerships in all countries of the European Union. Finnova’s experience in leading European project communication and dissemination activities is combined with a strong proven expertise in start-ups and business support programs, such as accelerators, incubators and ceremonial event selection and awarding.
About LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0
LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 is a pilot demonstration project, funded by the LIFE program with a budget of over 970,000 EUR, which generates biogas in wastewater treatment plant digesters through the mixing of putrescible organic waste (manure, poultry, organic fractions, municipal solid waste, horeca, etc.), thus transforming sewage sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative, led by Global Omnium (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal), aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool in the market, achieving environmental and economic benefits through biogas production by optimal waste utilization. Thanks to this technology, it promotes the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the utilization of sewage sludge generated in wastewater treatment processes, thus having a positive impact on the environment. This program is easily scalable with other funds such as the FEDER, NextGenerationEU, or RepowerEU.
About LIFE NextFUMIGREEN
The European project LIFE NextFUMIGREEN actively promotes food safety by developing natural fumigants from plant extracts to control pests in intensive horticultural crops under glass. With the leadership of Fumihogar and with the collaboration of the Foundation for Agricultural Auxiliary Technologies, the Finnova Foundation, B&B Asesores Auditores Ambientales, Comercial Quimica Masso and BrioAgro Tech, the project has a total budget of 2,758,921.01 €, 60% subsidised by the LIFE Programme.
About LIFE COSTAdapta
LIFE COSTAdapta has the main objective of addressing the adaptation of the coast of Gran Canaria to sea level rise through an innovative methodology. To this end, the objective is to design and test an innovative and progressive Tidal pool-reef system, which uses, partially, the traditional technique of tidal pool construction, common elements in the Canary Islands and the rest of Macaronesia, for the coastal adaptation of Gran Canaria to climate change. The project, which has a duration of 7 years and a total budget of 3,409,864 €, is coordinated by the Consejo Insular de Energía de Gran Canaria (CIEGC) of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria with the support of 7 partners: Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC); Universidad de Cantabria (UC); INGECID S.L.; Raley Estudios Costeros S.C.P.; ECOncrete AQUA; Fundación Canar.
About Startup Europe Awards
The Startup Europe Awards (SEUA) is an initiative driven by the European Commission, implemented by the Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe. It is an open innovation tool that allows companies to identify talented startups capable of solving today’s challenges in multiple areas. Its mission is to help Startups and Scaleups become more efficient, smarter and more successful. These awards are a useful tool to promote knowledge sharing, add value to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and help startups to grow and position themselves in the market.
About LIFE ECODIGESTION 2.0
It is a demonstration pilot project, funded by the LIFE programme and with a budget of more than 970,000 euros, which generates biogas in water treatment plant digesters by mixing putrescible organic waste (slurry, poultry, organic fractions, MSW, horeca, etc.), thus transforming wastewater treatment plant sludge into green energy through technology. The initiative led by Global Omnium, (Spain), in collaboration with the Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal) aims to become the most versatile digestion control tool on the market by achieving environmental and economic benefits through the production of biogas through optimal waste exploitation. Thanks to this technology, it favours the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the exploitation of sewage sludge generated in wastewater treatment processes, thus achieving a positive impact on the environment. This programme is easily scalable with other funds such as ERDF, NextGenerationEU or Repower EU.
RES4CITY is a new innovative educational project, in which the Finnova Foundation is a partner. The project has a budget of €2.5 million, fully funded by the European Commission through the Horizon Europe Programme. Juan Viesca, Director of European Funds at Finnova, explained at the launch meeting that this initiative “aims to address the skills shortage in the EU in the renewable energy sector” through a set of educational programmes and tools that enable students to develop skills in renewable energy systems, fuel technologies and sustainability.