Bad and good news from Europe

In the ‘bad news’ category today: the European Parliament’s vote supporting the US inspired line on therapeutical cloning. Does it matter? Not immediately, as the EP has no formal say in this matter which still is a national competence. The real bad news about this, is that it could mean the conservative christian vote (which was supported by the German-dominated greens) is a lot stronger in this parliament than it was during the previous mandate.

On a more positive pre-weekend note (as least in my opinion), there is today’s decision by the EU’s environment ministers to set even more ambitious post-Kyoto targets than the Commission proposed.

2 Responses to “Bad and good news from Europe”

  1. Mark Giebels Says:

    ALthough the EP cannot ban therapeutic cloning, I guess it can ban EU funding of research involving this method. And since more and more research is coordinated on the EU level I suppose it might have a significant impact on future research directions. Money will probably be diverted to alternative research methods with less or no potential for reaching the primary goals of effective organ and tissue replacement and repair options.

  2. eulogist Says:

    That is very true: as the article points out, the EP’s latest resolution seems to contradict a decision it took last year (when the EU still consisted of 15 member states) to fund research using embryonic stem cells in countries where this was allowed. So it would be logical to fear for the outcome next time a decision on funding has to be taken, considering the outcome of last week’s vote:

    11. Welcomes the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 8 March 2005 (A/59/516/Add. 1), which refers explicitly to the need to prevent the exploitation of women, and asks the Commission accordingly to rule out support and funding for human cloning under any EU programme;
    14. Welcomes the decision of the Sixth Committee of the United Nations of 18 February 2005, and asks the Commission accordingly to exclude human cloning from funding under the 7th Research Framework Programme;

    15. Asks the Commission to apply the subsidiarity principle in connection with other forms of embryo research and embryonic stem cell research so that Member States in which this kind of research is legal fund it from their national budgets; considers that EU funding should concentrate on alternatives like somatic stem cell and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are accepted in all Member States and have already led to successful treatment of patients;

    On the other hand, debate on these last-minute foreign policy resolutions tends to be a bit short and shallow. So “fringe” amendments sometimes slip through, especially when the resolution itself is fair and balanced (pun intended, but text to be taken literally) regarding its actual topic (criticising the fact that depraved women are payed important sums for donating egg cells – I do think Mrs Ries too easily brushes away the risks involved with that practice).

    So it may be too early to predict how the EP will vote once this topic comes up in a legislative text. Well, that is what I hope anyway…

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