What is the EGE?
The EGE provides the Commission with high quality, independent advice on all aspects of EU legislation and policies, where ethical, societal and fundamental rights issues intersect with the development of science and new technologies.
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 (2021/156).
The EGE reports to the President of the European Commission and to the College of Commissioners as a whole.
In addition to its mobilisation on COVID-19, the EGE is working on the topics of genome editing, artificial intelligence and the future of work.
The EGE’s earlier accomplishments are reposited here.
The period to submit applications of membership for the next EGE mandate has ended on 22 March 2021 (12:00 noon CET). The applicants will be contacted by the autumn.
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 “Values for the future: the role of ethics in European and global governance”
In its latest Statement, the EGE provides important perspectives on the role of values in Europe and the global community. It proposes a central and proactive involvement of ethics in governance. The Statement brings to light the connections between ethics and fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law, concluding with a recommendation for the EU to maximise opportunities for public participation in policy making. It was published on 9 June 2021 and contributes to the deliberations of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Opinion on ethics of genome editing
The EGE has published its Opinion on Ethics of Genome Editing on 19 March 2021. It comprises an analysis of the ethical, societal and fundamental rights implications of genome editing applications in humans, animals and plants.
The group calls for a wide-ranging and inclusive societal debate on the issue, for efforts towards joint monitoring and learning with regard to both regulatory and scientific developments, and for international engagement towards global governance.
The Opinion will inform the Commission’s study on new genomic techniques, to be issued at the end of April.
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.
Role of the general secretariat
The general secretariat of the EGE at the European Commission supports the group and it
- provides the general secretariat of the European Commission's International Dialogue on Bioethics and Ethics of Science and New Technologies, 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 the ethics and governance 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.