Brussels, 01 February 2002
European Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin has welcomed the outcome of Wednesday's vote in the German Bundestag to allow the import - under strict conditions - of existing embryonic stem cells for research purposes. "German researchers will now be able to fully participate in EU-funded research projects that investigate the use of embryonic stem cells for curing diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or heart insufficiencies.
The decision of the German Bundestag will strengthen the possibilities for researchers to work together on leading-edge science in a European Research Area." In the Commission's proposal for the 6th Framework Research Programme (2002-2006), any intervention on the germ line is excluded from funding as well as the creation of embryos for research purposes or for the procurement of embryonic stem cells.
EU funded research projects that raise sensitive ethical questions are always subject to a specific ethical review at the European level and have to respect the ethical rules in place in the country where the research is conducted.