Results of Commission's consultation on life sciences and biotechnology

June 10, 2002

Brussels, 7 June 2002

Commission Staff Working Paper: Results of the public consultation "Towards a Strategic Vision of Life Sciences and Biotechnology." Cover note from the Secretary-General of the European Commission, signed by Mr Sylvain BISARRE, Director, to Mr Javier SOLANA, Secretary-General/High Representative, date of receipt 31 May 2002. Brussels, 5 June 2002 (06.06) (document 9637/02 RECH 99 ENV 303 CONSOM 46 SAN 72 DEVGEN 77 MI 98 IND 45 AGRI 125 SOC 294 RELEX 107 EDUC 84 AG 22). Full text

Delegations will find attached Commission document SEC(2002) 630. Brussels, 29.5.2002

FOREWORD

On 23 January 2002, the Commission presented a Communication entitled "Life Sciences and Biotechnology ­ A Strategy for Europe" (COM(2002) final), thus fulfilling its undertaking given in March 2001 at the Stockholm European Council as part of the Lisbon process to produce strategic guidelines accompanied by concrete actions. In accordance with its governance policy, the Commission prepared for this Communication by conducting a public consultation, in the context of which it collected many reactions, opinions and suggestions.

These are shown in this document but do not in any way reflect the Commission's position in this matter.

The main steps in the public consultation

The public consultation was held between 4 September and 23 November 2001 and was based on a supporting text which tackled all the issues associated with biotechnology, raised the main questions and asked for comments and opinions. This document, available in 11 languages, was placed on the website created for this purpose in July 2001 - http://europa.eu.int/comm/biotechnology

Contributions could be submitted by post, fax or e-mail. If they were no longer than two pages and written in either English, French or German, they could be published on the website. Other information was also available on the site, in particular the provisional programme for the consultative conference of stakeholders on and 28 September 2001 and, after the conference, summary reports on each of the four workshops.

The consultative conference was attended by almost 320 participants from the scientific world, consumer and environmental protection associations, the media, biotech and health companies. Political decision-makers from the EU institutions, the Member States, candidate countries and other countries, including developing countries, were also there. Forty high- level speakers, including MEPs and five Commissioners, spoke at its six working sessions.

The aim of this report is to analyse the 316 contributions received in response to the points and questions in the consultation document.

The wide range of opinions and proposals made reflects the extent of the areas covered by the consultation document. The chosen structure is based on the most commonly expressed ideas and could certainly be challenged; without claiming to be exhaustive, the document tries to reflect, as objectively as possible, the richness and variety of the contributions received. In its desire for transparency, the Commission plans to make these contributions available to the public. The table in the Annex shows a breakdown of respondents by type of contributor and country.

The first part of the document makes some general comments and analyses the themes most often brought up by the various sectors.

The second part lists the ideas most often mentioned and classifies them under three headings: points of consensus, points of debate and points of conflict. "Ideas" in this context means opinions and suggestions for action. The last heading refers to a small number of subjects where the issues were fundamental and the positions taken too polarised for compromises or technical solutions to be found. The last two groups were not taken together so that they could be studied and discussed in more depth in order to come up with options and choices at European and other levels which could lead to constructive work and approaches leading to results. Please note that the figures in brackets refer to the registration numbers of the contributions.

The third part of the document provides some information about how the contributions have been taken into account. However, a more systematic follow-up is planned, and many of the ideas shared during the consultation will be taken up again later on in more depth in other contexts...

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