Debate on funding stem cell research divides EU
www.chinaview.cn 2006-07-24 21:34:34

Minister of the European Union meet in Brussels Monday to debate on a 51 billion euros ($64.46 billion) human embryonic stem cell research programme, under the shadow of last-ditch effort led by Germany to ban the research and a fatal "No" from U.S. President Bush a few days ago.
Apar from finding cure for diseases like Parkinson's, diabetes and heart failure, stem cells are able to turn themselves into any other type of cell of the body and can hopefully be used to repair parts of the body. EU ministers meet in Brussels Monday to debate on the funding program for human embryonic stem cell research. (File Photo)
    BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Ministers of the European Union meet in Brussels Monday to debate on a 51 billion euros ($64.46 billion) human embryonic stem cell research programme, under the shadow of last-ditch effort led by Germany to ban the research and a fatal "No" from U.S. President Bush a few days ago.

    The funding program for 2007-13 aimed at plugging the research gap with the United States and spurring economic growth. The scope of the research is challenged by some EU countries, certain religious groups and non-governmental organisations. But scientists across Europe are supporting the research.

    Apar from finding cure for diseases like Parkinson's, diabetes and heart failure, stem cells are able to turn themselves into any other type of cell of the body and can hopefully be used to repair parts of the body.

    In June, the European Parliament approved by a slim margin, a bill funding stem cell research. But final approval for the measure rest to the ministers of the European Council which will meet Monday to discuss the issue. The different member-countries of EU have differing laws and attitude towards the research.

    Germany, Poland and Austria all opposed any form of stem cell research which destroys human embryos. German Research Minister Annette Schavan was locked in talks with Italy, Austria, Poland, Luxembourg, Malta and Austria ahead of the formal meeting. Schavan was reported to say in a letter to the European Council that the EU science program should not be used to give financial incentives to kill embryos.

    If the group of six, largely Catholic states held together, it could block the adoption of the overall seven-year research budget.

    But diplomats told reporters Sunday that Italy or Ireland, which had indicated support for continued EU funding, could have a last-minute change of heart before the meeting on Monday.

    If the majority of the EU’s 25 members agree on fresh funding, EU-backed experiments would continue until 2014 under a new European research budget. Under the European Commission proposal, EU-funded research would not use stem cells for reproductive cloning and would not allow the creation of human embryos solely for research.

    Last week, US President George Bush vetoed a Senate bill lifting the limit on the use of public funds for the research which destroys embryos. Enditem

    (Agencies)

Editor: Yang Lei
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