Strasbourg - Today MEPs from different political groups and different countries asked not to finance research with embryos and embryonic stem cells under the new EU-research framework program Horizon 2020. Within the next weeks the different committees of the European Parliament will vote on the Commissions proposal.

 

Miroslav Mikolasik (EPP), Margrete Auken (Greens), Konrad Szymanski (ECR), Peter Liese (EPP) and Gerald Häfner (Greens) argued today that last year's ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the patentability of embryonic stem cells requires an exclusion of research funding for this. The ECJ decided that human embryos and cells generated from them must not be patented. It is now argued by lawyers that that the Brustle-Judgement needs to have consequences also in Horizon 2020. In light of the importance of this discussion, Peter Liese asked Prof. Klaus Gärditz of the University of Bonn about his opinion on the legal aspects of this issue. The public law professor concluded in his expertise: "Considering the reasoning in the Brustle-case it seems to be likely that the court will declare legal acts providing for the promotion of embryonic stem cell research to be void".

Peter Liese (EPP): “It is not reasonable to put at risk a program of 80 billion Euros. The European Union should therefore exclude research on human embryos and human embryonic stem cells of the EU funding.”

The MEPs demanded to focus on the alternatives now, such as adult stem
cell research, iPS cells and stem cells from cord blood. "In contrast to
embryonic stem cell research there are true successes in these areas", the
MEPs says.

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