The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) is an independent, multi-disciplinary body which advises on all aspects of Commission policies and legislation where ethical, societal and fundamental rights dimensions intersect with the development of science and new technologies.
The EGE is appointed by, and reports to, President Juncker while operating under the direct responsibility of Commissioner Moedas and providing advice to the Commission College as a whole.
Since its inception in 1991 (as the Group of Advisers on the Ethical Implications of Biotechnology, GAEIB), the EGE has provided the Commission with high quality and independent advice on these issues. The EGE has gone through five evolutions of its mandate and has adopted 29 Opinions on such crucial and diverse issues as: nanotechnology, agriculture policy, novel food legislation, animal welfare, embryo research, genetically modified organisms, biodiversity, climate change, global trade, bio-security, environment protection, food security, internet governance, energy, and security and surveillance.
In 2016, the EGE mandate was renewed with the adoption of Commission Decision 2016/835.
The Group comprises 15 high-calibre members, appointed on the basis of their expertise and drawn from fields of natural and social sciences and the humanities, philosophy and ethics, and law, ensuring an independent, inter-disciplinary perspective on ethical questions posed by scientific and technological innovation.
The Commission provides the Secretariat of the EGE tasked with integrating ethics (1) at international level, (2) at inter-institutional level with the European Parliament and the Council and the other EU institutions and (3) within the Commission itself. These interrelated activities form a coherent framework. To that effect the Secretariat of the EGE supports the Group and within that role it:
- provides the General Secretariat of the European Commission's International Dialogue on Bioethics, a platform bringing together the National Ethics Councils from 97 countries (EU-G20 forum and beyond)
- is in charge of the representation and liaison with the international organisations tasked with examining the ethical implications of science and new technologies (UN and its agencies, OECD, Council of Europe)
- chairs and convenes the Inter-service group on Ethics and EU Policies, coordinating Commission activities in the fields of bioethics and ethics of science and new technologies.
Every EU Member State has a National Ethics Council or equivalent body, as do many third countries. The EGE acts as a key reference point for the 28 National Ethics Councils in the EU and further afield within the international ethics framework.