What is the EGE?
The EGE provides the Commission with high quality, independent advice on ethical aspects of science and new technologies in relation to EU legislation or policies.
The EGE is an independent advisory body of the President of the European Commission. It was founded in 1991.
The group's legal mandate is enshrined in Commission Decision (2016/835).
The EGE reports to the President of the European Commission and to the College of Commissioners as a whole.
The EGE is working on the topics of gene editing, artificial intelligence and the future of work.
The Open round table on gene editing took place on 16 October 2019.
The work of the EGE
The EGE is tasked with integrating ethics at
- international level
- at inter-institutional level with the European Parliament and the Council
- within the Commission itself
EGE members are appointed for their expertise in the fields of law, natural and social sciences, philosophy and ethics.
This ensures an independent, inter-disciplinary perspective on the ethical questions posed by scientific and technological innovation.
The EGE acts as a key reference point for the 27 National Ethics Councils in the EU and further afield within the international ethics framework.
Statement on European solidarity and the protection of fundamental rights in the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic will leave its impact on our societies long after the immediate effects of the virus. The EGE calls for a rallying of solidarity at the European and global level and underlines the core ethical considerations that must shape the pathway out of the pandemic.
The Statement was issued in the morning of 2 April 2020. This marked an inflection point corresponding to a forceful response by the European Commission to the COVID-19 crisis.
EGE issues joint statement on scientific advice to European policy makers in the context of COVID-19
The statement provides guidance for the provision of scientific advice in pandemic situations that are characterised by complexity and uncertainty.
Opinion on gene editing
Following a formal request from the European Commission, the EGE is currently developing an Opinion on the Ethics of Gene Editing.
The Opinion will comprise an analysis of the ethical, societal, fundamental rights implications of genome editing applications in humans, animals and plants, together with a set of policy recommendations.
Role of the secretariat
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
EGE opinions and statements
Opinions examine the intersections between science and technological advances and broad societal, ethical and fundamental rights issues.
They identify emerging and future developments, examine their implications across a wide spectrum of policy areas and issue recommendations.
Statements allow the EGE to deliver advice quickly and concisely on a given topic, including in response to an immediate policy need identified by the Group or by the Commission.