Research in the light of human dignity
The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) is disappointed that the Commission proposal for the 7th Research Framework Programme of the 6 April does not contain any clear ethical limits for jointly funded EU research projects.
Mgr. Noël Treanor, the Secretary General of COMECE gave this initial reaction to the European Commission’s decision of 6 April:
“COMECE supports the development of European research policy and underlines the importance of research both for the individual and for society. Research must serve the common good. COMECE welcomes the European Commission’s objective to co-ordinate and improve European research capacities. Thus it makes sense to significantly increase the research budget.
At the same time, however, COMECE reiterates that research finds its limits in the inviolable dignity of human life. For this reason – and also in view of the legal situation in several member states – the instrumentalisation of human life, independently of its stage of development, is not acceptable.
In the 7th Research Framework Programme research areas are being determined as common priorities through joint financing. It is regrettable that the European Commission did not take into account the fundamental ethical objections regarding research areas such as cloning, human embryo and embryonic stem cell research; areas where there is no consensus about the ethical issues concerned in and among the member states.
That ethical considerations were not explicitly taken into account is all the more difficult to understand as the European Parliament, in its resolution dated 10 March 2005, explicitly requested that the European Commission excludes research with human embryos and embryonic stem cells from joint financing under the 7th Research Framework Programme.
COMECE hopes that the position of the European Parliament will be fully taken on board in the course of the co-decision procedure and that the protection of human dignity will be given clear priority.”