Country Fact Sheets

Get an overview of the bioeconomy sector in the Southern Europe

The southern macro-region is composed of six countries: Spain, Portugal, Malta, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.

The countries of the southern macro-region represent 25.12% of the total area of the EU-27. Spain is the second largest country in the EU; however, Cyprus and Malta are placed in the last positions compared to
the rest of the countries.

Regarding the number of inhabitants, the southern macro-region accounts for 28.81% of the total population of the EU-27. Italy and Spain are ranked at the top, only surpassed by Germany and France. However, Cyprus and Malta, despite its area, are placed in the last positions in terms of the number of inhabitants.


SWOT Analysis of the Southern Europe Macro Region

In the SWOT analysis below, an overview of the region’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are provided. As you can see, the analysis shows among others that the Southern Europe Region has a very strong agrifood sector as well as many capable organizations (universities, policy makers, several clusters...), strong skills/expertise related to bioconomy and innovation.


Below is a map summarising the main strategies, collaborative structures and policy instruments in the Southern Europe macro-region (Spain, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus).

  • Primary Sector Dominance: The southern macro-region’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture, fishing, and forestry, with agriculture being prominent despite a decrease in arable land.
  • Biorefineries: Biomass from these sectors is converted into food, feed, bioenergy, and biomaterials.
  • Bioeconomy Strategies: Italy exemplifies successful strategy implementation, while Spain and Portugal have strategies with varying degrees of application, and Malta, Cyprus, and Greece lag behind.
  • Challenges: Effective bioeconomy development requires collaboration and coordination, as seen in Italy, Spain, and Greece, where the absence of a single responsible organization presents obstacles.
  • Regional Strategies: Regions, especially in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, are recognized as key players in promoting bioeconomy development.
  • Industry Linkage: Clusters and networks connect bioeconomy actors to industry, facilitating dissemination and implementation.
  • Research Integration: Research and academia are less involved, with technology transfer occurring mainly through technological poles and accelerator programs.
  • Innovation: Private SMEs drive innovation, but applied R&D and technology transfer need enhancement in the macro-region.
  • Cross-Sectoral Collaboration: Policies, financing, and European programs support intersectoral collaboration for sustainable development in bioeconomy projects.
  • Financing: SMEs access funds primarily through private investors, with national recovery plans playing a significant role in supporting specific needs.


Country fact sheets to be downloaded!

If you’re curious to know more about the bioeconomy sector in the Baltic See Region, you can read the recently published report called ”Report on macro-regions – Mapping of initiatives, structures, instruments and key challenges for EU’s macro-regions”

Get an overview of the bioeconomy sector in the Southern Europe