Strasbourg, 20 Jan 2004
The Council of Europe, the City of Strasbourg and the Forum for European Democracy are planning to hold the regular European Bioethics Forum "Bioetica". A feasibility study will be presented to the Mayor of Strasbourg, Fabienne Keller, on Thursday 22 January at the Council of Europe. Mrs Keller initiated the project, in co-operation with Noëlle Lenoir, French Minister for European Affairs, and Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
For Francis Rosenstiel - President of the European Democracy Forum, who has been given the responsibility for Bioetica and who will present his feasibility study to the Mayor of Strasbourg at 10 am in Room 5 of the Palais de l'Europe - bioethics is a topic which should be discussed in the widest possible framework. "Only this method will allow practical solutions to be applied, in a rational and democratic manner, to the problems brought about by the continuous technical and scientific advances, in particular in certain areas such as transplantation techniques; it is a question of avoiding possible conflicts between the advancement of knowledge and the democratic management of areas of freedom" said Mr Rosenstiel.
For its Secretary General, Walter Schwimmer, the Council of Europe is a natural partner for the European Democracy Forum in the field of bioethics. "The right to life is irrevocably inscribed in the European Convention on Human Rights. With its Convention on Biomedicine, the Council of Europe has developed a legal instrument which is ground-breaking at the European and global levels. Its Additional Protocol No.1 is - to this day - the sole legally binding international instrument which prohibits human cloning. Xenotransplantation, euthanasia and the consideration of human rights in psychiatry are also questions which are regularly discussed in the most diverse structures of our Organisation."
"The advantage of having Strasbourg as the seat of 'Bioetica' is the possibility of using pre-existing synergies," according to Francis Rosenstiel. "Strasbourg is not only the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. This region and this city in particular, through their long humanist tradition, enjoy the resources and the potential needed for scientific and economic projects of this nature. All of these factors led to Strasbourg being chosen as the home of the future bioethics forum."
The 22 January ceremony for the presentation of the feasibility report, which will be open to the press, will begin with speeches from Walter Schwimmer, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Fabienne Keller, Mayer of Strasbourg. Contributions from Professors François Gros and Pierre Chambon, Members of the Académie des Sciences, Robert Parienti, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador and Délégué Général du Conseil Pasteur-Weizman, and Marie-Jo Thiel, Professor at the Theology Faculty in Strasbourg, will follow. At the end of the speeches, the panel will be prepared to answer questions from the floor.
Contacts: Spokesperson and Press Division, Council of Europe: Henriette Girard, tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 21 41, mobile: +33 (0)6 75 65 03 39, or Philippe Potentini, tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 28 95, mobile: +33 (0)6 75 65 03 48