Over the coming decades, it will be essential to innovate towards delivering sustainable solutions to the broad range of challenges that Europe is facing. The biotech industry can help tackle several of these signifi cantly, contributing to a more resource effi cient, climate neutral and innovation driven knowledge-based economy that improves the health and well-being of people and planet. Biotechnology is one of the key enabling technologies driving the fourth industrial revolution. It has delivered huge advances in many sectors, including healthcare, industrial processes and agriculture. To help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, a proportionate, fi t-for-purpose and science-based approach to modern technologies, such as innovative biotechnology, is essential. The EU’s biotech industry is led by a highly-skilled community of large, medium and small (SMEs) research and development intensive businesses, start-ups, scientists and academics. Going forward, the key will be to retain and grow talent, encourage collaboration across countries, secure increased investment and faster uptake of innovations. With its own specifi c biotech ecosystem, Europe can take the global lead by sustainably developing its economy, to protect the environment, secure jobs, improve the health, life expectancy and well-being of European citizens. Biotechnology is part of our everyday lives and off ers citizens concrete solutions. However, regulatory roadblocks such as slow and politicised authorisation systems for some biotech applications are blunting Europe’s competitive edge and are already limiting the availability of and access to demonstrably safe biotech products and processes in Europe. While Europe holds a leading position in some areas of biotech research, the last decade has seen an exodus of R&D expertise and decline in investment in the EU. Europe is lagging behind, especially in the fi eld of agricultural biotechnology, partly due to an excessive emphasis on precautionary policies. Precious years to innovate, invest, create jobs and bring new solutions to patients, consumers and farmers have been lost.
The complexity of the technology, combined with misinformation and a backlash against science, academia and expertise have created misunderstandings and unfounded concerns about biotech. To be successful, Europe’s core values of progress and solidarity need to be applied. An open and transparent dialogue is critical to reinstating trust in sound science and policy making. The new mandate of the European Parliament and Commission for 2019- 2024 will represent an opportunity to reset the ambition for biotechnology in Europe. We encourage all decision makers at European and national level to consider our call to action