Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission confirms opposition to research on cloning in humans

Addressing the European Parliament on behalf of the European Commission, Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for science, research and development, confirmed the Commission's opposition to research on cloning in human beings. The European research programmes currently...
Addressing the European Parliament on behalf of the European Commission, Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for science, research and development, confirmed the Commission's opposition to research on cloning in human beings. The European research programmes currently explicitly exclude this type of research, which is also banned in a number of Member States.

The Commission reacted immediately to the latest developments in relation to experimentation with cloning, which took place in Scotland, by convening the Group of Advisers on Ethics in Biotechnology, an independent advisory committee to the European Commission. The Group is expected to deliver an opinion in May, following the organization of a Round Table on the issue. Participants in the Round Table will include Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Commission services, as well as high-level researchers and the interested parties.

Mrs. Cresson stressed that "The new developments relating to experimentation with cloning which took place in Scotland pose questions of a new dimension, from both a legal and ethical point of view, which we must consider very carefully". She noted, however, that a clear distinction must be made between cloning on animals and the possible experimentation of cloning on human beings.

For obvious ethical reasons, there is currently a consensus within the international scientific community to ban research on cloning in human beings. The surprise effect of the latest discovery means, however, that time must now be taken to consider to what extent existing legislation, at both Community and national level, covers this type of practice or if legal loopholes become evident.

The Commission services are presently examining the possible implications for Community policy. In light of this process and the conclusion of the Group of Advisers, the Commission will adopt a clear position on this issue and take appropriate measures within its area of responsibility. Mrs. Cresson noted that the Community's Fifth Framework Programme for research and technological development would obviously take account of the conclusions of the present debate and would exclude any research which did not respect ethical principles.

The Commissioner stressed, however, that, for the time being, it is important to allow time for considered analysis of the possible repercussions of this discovery, and to structure debate on reliable and objective information, despite the legitimate emotions raised by this issue.
DE FR
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top