Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-105"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, Secretary of State, given that the rapporteur has already done so at length, I do not wish to launch into a detailed description of advanced therapies. I shall merely reiterate the point that this is an extremely promising area of research and medicine, offering real solutions for people with third-degree burns, patients suffering from venous ulcers, diabetes, hereditary diseases and cardiovascular diseases, offering hope, too, for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and offering a solution finally, one day perhaps, to the tragic shortage of organs, which results in the deaths each year in Europe of thousands of patients awaiting donations. In other words, there are countless numbers of patients – millions of them – who are awaiting this regulation. It is not just patients who are awaiting it, but businesses in this sector, too, for, quite apart from the quality, safety and effectiveness of the products, quite apart from the need to make them accessible to everyone, without discrimination, the idea here, with this text, as the Commissioner pointed out, is also that we stimulate research and innovation. Well, on three occasions already, those seeking to impose on us their vision of ethics and morality – and the rapporteur is one of them – have delayed and are still delaying the adoption of this regulation: in committee, in the informal trialogue – as my fellow Member, Mrs Roth-Behrendt pointed out just now – and perhaps again on Wednesday, I fear, with a request for referral of the report. At the heart of the controversy and the deadlock are medicines made from embryonic or foetal stem cells, which the rapporteur wants to exclude from the centralised procedure and thus leave outside the scope of this legislation. Things must be made clear, as clear as our Amendment 62, which is in the package, and validated by the legal services of the three institutions, I should also like to point out: the Member States and they alone will decide which research and which products will be available on their territory. Nothing will be imposed on them that contravenes their national legislation on ethical matters. That is indeed, I believe, the definition of subsidiarity, and those who intend, in the name of subsidiarity – it is quite a feat, after all – to ban these products throughout Europe and prevent countries that want them from making progress, puzzle me. For that reason, I formally reject Amendments 3 and 17 tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs, together with the package of amendments endorsed by Mr Gargani and others. Ladies and gentlemen, the choice is simple, after all. Our credibility is at stake here, as is, I would say in passing, the consistency of our work and of our decisions. I would remind you that, last June, we were authorising the funding of research into embryonic stem cells in the seventh framework programme for research. I urge you today to support this compromise package tabled by the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Confederal Group of the European United Left/European United Left. Something that has not yet been said is that this package also has the support of a number of MEPs from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats and, contrary to what was explained by the rapporteur, it is accepted by the Commission and by the Council. This package solves all of the technical issues; it is a compromise that makes it clear that it is not Europe’s role to legislate on ethics, because, ladies and gentlemen, if the next few years are to be characterised by all manner of revolutions, it is up to us to give meaning to them, and to offer hope, not destroy it."@en1

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