EU agrees to continue stem cell funding

25th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2006, BRUSSELS - European Union ministers agreed to continue EU funding for controversial human embryonic stem-cell research and to ban funding if human embryos were destroyed. A group of countries led by Germany and Poland managed to forge a deal which bans allocating EU cash for research that involves destroying human embryos for procuring stem cells. However, EU money for "subsequent steps involving human embryonic stem cells" could be granted, the ministers said in a statement. Funding will onl

25 July 2006

BRUSSELS - European Union ministers agreed to continue EU funding for controversial human embryonic stem-cell research and to ban funding if human embryos were destroyed.

A group of countries led by Germany and Poland managed to forge a deal which bans allocating EU cash for research that involves destroying human embryos for procuring stem cells.

However, EU money for "subsequent steps involving human embryonic stem cells" could be granted, the ministers said in a statement.

Funding will only be available in those member states that allow embryonic stem-cell research.

It will be restricted by a ban on research aimed at human cloning for reproductive purposes, on activities seeking to modify the genetic make-up of humans and on experiments creating human embryos solely for the purpose of research.

The minister's decision cleared the way for the adoption of the EU's 54- million-euro ($65-billion) research budget for 2007-2013 aimed at catching up with research in the United States and boosting Europe's sluggish economy.

US President George W Bush last week vetoed a bill that would have increased federal funding for stem cell research.

EU members such as France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Britain support such research. No country should stand in the way of others who want to allow the use of human embryonic stem cells in research, they argued.

Scientists say that research is needed to tackle diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and heart failure.

Opponents argue the human stem-cell experiments amount to murder.

"Protecting human life from the very first beginning has to be our main priority," German Research Minister Annette Schavan told reporters after the ministers' meeting.

"Today's compromise sends the clear signal that the EU does not want to give financial incentives to kill embryos," she added.

Human stem-cell research in the EU is financed largely from national budgets in those countries that allow it. A ban on EU funding would have had little impact on research work.

EU cash for research interlinked with human embryonic stem cell experiments in the period 2000-2006 amounted to some 72 million euros, EU diplomats said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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