Brussels, 24 May 2005
The European Group on Ethics in Science and new Technologies, the EGE, has had its mandate renewed by the European Commission for a four-year period.
The Commission decision states that 'The task of the EGE shall be to advise the Commission on ethical questions relating to sciences and new technologies, either at the request of the Commission or on its own initiative.' The questions usually relate to the preparation and implementation of EU legislation or policies.
The document adds: 'The Parliament and the Council may draw the Commission's attention to questions which they consider to be of major ethical importance. The Commission shall, when seeking the opinion of the EGE, set a time limit within which such an opinion shall be given.'
Members of the EGE are appointed by the President of the European Commission, but interested parties can reply to a call for expressions of interest - now open - should they wish to be considered for the group.
Members serve in a personal capacity and must advise the Commission independently of any outside influence.
In order to prepare opinions the EGE has the flexibility to invite advice from experts in a specific field, initiate studies, and establish working groups to consider particular issues.
Recent EGE opinions have addressed topics as diverse as the implant of information and communications (ICT) devices in the human body, umbilical cord blood banking, genetic testing in the workplace, clinical research in developing countries and the patenting of inventions involving human stem cells.
Remarks: Applications for membership of the EGE should be submitted by 20 June 2005.