Research on stem cells” “

The European Commission held a seminar on questions relating to bioethics and procedures for funding research on stem cells and human embryos in Brussels on 23 April. In particular the so-called ‘Busquin’ project – presented by the European Commissioner responsible for research – was discussed: it would give scientific research projects funded by the EU permission to use the over 400,000 human embryos already fertilized for artificial reproduction currently being stored in the laboratories and hospitals of EU member states. The proposal would also authorize the funding of research projects on frozen embryos less than 14 days old, not destined for reproduction and hence condemned to destruction. As things stand today, and up till the end of 2003, an embargo remains in force, prohibiting the Union from allocating funds for research on human embryos. The Commissioner’s proposal, in the event of the European Parliament voting in its favour, would then have to be submitted to the scrutiny of the Council of Ministers, within which there is a powerful lobby against it, led by Germany, Ireland and Italy. (On the Busquin proposal see Sir 21/2003 and 27/2003)

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