Brussels, 23 Sep 2005
A group of 73 MEPs has sent a letter to Commission President José Manuel Barroso asking for reassurance that EU money will not be used to fund embryo or embryonic stem cell research.
The signatories are concerned that the Commission may not 'respect the voice of the European Parliament' on the matter. 'We understand that the relationship between the European Parliament and European Commission is one of your most important concerns,' begins the letter, 'and that you are interested in preventing any major institutional conflict,' it continues.
The letter reminds Mr Barroso of an amendment made to a resolution on the trade in human egg cells, adopted in March 2005. The parliament asked the Commission to 'apply the subsidiarity principle in connection with other forms of embryo research and embryonic stem cell research so that Member States in which this kind of research is legal fund it from their national budgets'. The amendment also called for EU funding to concentrate on alternatives, such as somatic stem cell and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are accepted in all Member States, and have already led to the successful treatment of patients
The letter also emphasises the importance of this issue for women, who must be protected from exploitation in the form of harvesting egg cells, according to the 73 signatories. They point to a risk of women becoming 'suppliers of raw material'.