Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-123"

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". Mr President, honourable Members, if, if in a community of twenty-seven states, there is no consensus on an ethical issue – such as is the case in this instance – then the only way in which civilised people can deal with this state of affairs is with tolerance and respect, for we have to tolerate and respect the views of others. I might add that it is also a fact of life for all of us that, while we do well to pay attention to what our consciences tell us, we cannot make that a yardstick for the conduct of others. On this issue, for example, my conscience tells me that I could not take upon myself the responsibility not only for leaving this new medical sector in a legal no-man’s land, but also for putting it in a situation in which – in certain parts of Europe at any rate – everything would be possible, with no legal bounds set and no stipulations as to quality. That, then, is why my conscience tells me that we need this regulation. My conscience also tells me that I could not take upon myself the responsibility for saying, to a sick person at death’s door, ‘here is a medicine that could help you, but there were some ideological objections to it, and so we are not allowed to use it.’ My conscience tells me that I do not have the right to do that, and that is why I say to you that the only way in which we can handle this issue is to do as is suggested here, that is to say, to allow those with ethical objections to act accordingly and to allow those without them to do whatever they want to do within the bounds of that which will be permitted by the regulation, which – heaven knows – will not allow everything. Let me now say something about some of the arguments that have been adduced today. As regards the principle that the human body should not be exploited for commercial gain, I would say, yes, that is indispensable, and you will find nobody who is more in agreement with that than I am. This principle is already firmly enshrined in the directive on human tissues and cells. The anonymity of donors and recipients, and the altruism of donors, are European principles that must be adhered to, and that is certainly true in this context and is something about which nobody can be in any doubt. It has been said that the Commission proposal is ambiguous, that it is, so to speak, not watertight when it comes to the issue of national prohibitions and their remaining in place, but the representative of the Presidency has already given the answer that needed to be given to that, and all I can do is confirm it. The changes needed in order to take account of the objections raised by your House’s legal service are contained in the compromise package, which, as I have already said, the Commission supports, and I want to repeat what Mr Schroeder said, namely that your House’s legal service has explicitly stated that these amendments resolve the problem, and that it welcomes that. I would like to make it plain that it is a misreading of the Treaty to say that Article 95 – the internal market article, that is – would not guarantee that no products would be licensed that a Member State did not want to see licensed. On this point, the internal market rules are as clear as daylight: every Member State has, at all times, the right to refuse to allow a specific product onto its market on ethical grounds or by reason of public morals; about that there is no doubt. Since we can be certain about the case law, about its practical implications, and about the legal basis afforded by the Treaty on European Union, you really do not have anything to worry about on this score. Finally, the technical package has been described as inadequate, and to that I have to say that the Council and the Commission really have been extremely willing to make compromises in order to get this dossier wrapped up early. We did indeed accept the great majority of your House’s amendments, particularly as regards small and medium-sized enterprises, in the form, for example, of reductions in charges and derogations from central licensing; all that is in there. That which is in this proposal for legislation goes well beyond what we did earlier, for the Commission has already enacted its own regulation allowing small and medium-sized businesses going through the approval process a reduction in costs of up to 90%, and here too, or so I believe, everything that could be done has been. So, then, let me ask you again to consider whether it is not indeed really high time that this debate were brought to a proper end, with a good outcome for those researching in this field, because they want to help people, and a good outcome for those who depend on these medicines for dear life."@en1

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