As a reflection of the
importance of advances in the life sciences, the European
Parliament has been considering, at the EU level, the policy
and legislative implications of human genetics and other emerging
A framework for research
The Parliament’s role is to delimit, along with the
Council of Ministers, the broad policy and legislative framework
under which the European Commission, the EU’s executive
arm, can operate.
One of the functions of the Parliament’s Committee
on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy is to
assess fundamental or pre-industrial research policy. In that
context, it was the first port of call for the Commission’s
draft proposal for the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The full Parliament then considered the Committee’s
suggested amendments when voting on the adoption of FP6. The
Council of Ministers, in its turn, considered the proposal
under the co-decision procedure, leading to the adoption of
the agreed Framework Programme.
Eye on industry
The Committee is also responsible for considering matters
relating to the EU’s common commercial and industrial
policy. This includes setting standards and competition rules
for new technologies in specific industrial and service sectors.
Emerging biotechnologies, such as genetically modified organisms,
fall under the Committee’s remit. The Committee also
addresses matters relating to pharmaceuticals and biotech
on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy