Campaigners welcome EU stand on embryo research

 The Pro-Life Alliance has welcomed the EU's new policy on embryo research which will underpin funding and policy for the next 4 years. The principles surrounding research on the human embryo were the focus of major dispute with Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Ireland totally opposing the allocation of European taxpayers' money to such research. The position of these countries for the greater part dominated the decisions taken. On September 30 the Council of Ministers of the European Union agreed on a one-year moratorium with supernumerary embryos from IVF cycles and on human embryonic stem cells. Stem cells already banked in laboratories were excluded from this ban, placing Europe in a similar position to that adopted by President Bush. The biggest victory for the pro-life movement was the exclusion of all funding for so-called therapeutic cloning, thereby relegating the United Kingdom to a minority position along with Sweden over this issue. Currently UK scientists, such as Edinburgh-based Austin Smith, believe that successful production of stem cell lines will necessitate the cloning of the human embryo. A spokesperson from the ProLife Alliance said: "Far from leading the field in biotechnology as Tony Blair is so happy to claim, the UK may find that lack of European funding forces our country to adopt an ethical rather than libertarian stance, if it is to compete successfully in the European market. "A 1-year moratorium on stem cell research is less than we would have liked, but this is, nevertheless, very good news from the European Union and a clear slap in the face for the United Kingdom. We now look forward to our ProLife Alliance Appeal, to be heard in the House of Lords in the new year, and which we trust will consolidate the illegality of human cloning.

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