Latvia is the first EU-13 Member State to adopt a national bioeconomy strategy. The development of the strategy was supported by the BIO4ECO project. The knowledge and experience gained during the development of the strategy are valuable and therefore should be passed on to those countries that are still at the start of their national strategies.

During the meeting, representatives of several departments of the Ministry of Agriculture discussed the joining of Latvia to the BIOEAST initiative. BIOEAST is a Central and Eastern European initiative for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy, started by the Visegrad Group Countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and joined by Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia).

The interdepartmental meeting was organized as a preparation before BIOEAST National Contact Points meeting that was held on June 29, 2018 in Brussels. During the meeting, it was concluded that the BIOEAST initiative and cooperation between the countries would strengthen the positions of the new EU Member States in the next Horizon Europe Research and Innovation framework program. Therefore it was decided to join the initiative.

BIOEAST offers a shared strategic research and innovation framework for working towards the development of a sustainable bioeconomy in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. The comparative advantage in the EU of the CEE countries, namely the sustainable biomass production and processing, could lead to the benefit of the society by creating jobs and growth in the private sector. The macro-region’s environmental, economic, societal, geopolitical, cultural and historical homogeneity and complexity could provide the framework conditions favourable to development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy. However, to achieve this goal, the traditional primary production and processing sectors must be modernized through a robust research and innovation initiative in bioeconomy.