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The Basque Government in Helsinki and Joensuu to study Finland's bioeconomy strategy

2023 August 31
  • The Deputy Minister for Technology, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Estibaliz Hernáez, and the Deputy Minister for  Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy, Bittor Oroz, have spent two days of visits and meetings focused on the development of biomaterials and forestry management. The Basque Government is thus consolidating the relationship with Finland through the European Forest Institute (EFI), of which the Basque Country is the Vice-President.

  • On 4 October, Bilbao will host an international professional seminar on innovation and the bioeconomy, which will be attended by the EFI Management Board; the session will showcase the scientific advances and innovative solutions generated by the technology centres and companies of the Basque Country.  

 

A Basque Government delegation – consisting of the Deputy Minister for Technology, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Estibaliz Hernáez, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy, Bittor Oroz, and the Director of the public technology centre NEIKER, Leire Barañano, who is currently the EFI Vice-President – has visited Helsinki to learn firsthand about the iconic bioeconomy initiative led by Finland. The country is a leader in this field, both due to the natural resources available and its R&D&i management in this regard.  

Finland has an ecosystem and a framework that the Basque Country has been using as a benchmark for years through the technology centres of the Basque Research Technology Alliance (BRTA). The purpose of this trip to the cities of Helsinki and Joensuu has been to hold meetings with institutions, technology centres, companies and Aalto University to consolidate partnership lines linked to the bioeconomy.   

The Basque Country works closely with the European Forest Institute (EFI); since 2019, it has been involved, through the NEIKER technology centre, in designing the new action plan of this European institution.  

Meeting with Metsa Group, the main forestry industry group in Europe 

Particularly noteworthy was the meeting with Rogaciano Cavadas Kaipainen, Metsa Group Vice-President. This cooperative of 90,000 Finnish forestry owners is a benchmark in regenerative forestry management that fosters forestry biodiversity. The group is a European leader in textile fibre production from paper pulp; along with insulating materials made from wood and producing cosmetic ingredients from birch bark. 

The Basque delegation also met with the Finnish Technical Research Centre-VTT, where they visited the pilot textile fibre and biomass processing facilities.   

Session with European Forest Institute in Joensuu 

In Joensuu, 500 kilometres to the north-east of the country, a work session was held at the headquarters of the European Forest Institute; the delegation also visited the Joensuu Science Park to learn about the innovation ecosystems and their main forestry development services. 

Bioeconomy event in the Basque Country on 4 October 

On 4 October 2023, Bilbao will host a professional seminar on innovation and the bioeconomy, which Timo Lehesvirta, a nature expert from the Metsä Group, will attend. The EFI Management Board will be at this international event, which will be an opportunity to showcase the status situation of the Basque Country's bioeconomy strategy, its scientific advances and the innovative solutions generated by the technology centres and companies of the Basque Country.  

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Politicians attending the event