European legislation update: Biotechnology Directive

United Kingdom
The Council of Ministers has published a new draft Directive, due to be considered by the Legal Affairs Committee on 28th April. About 30 amendments are proposed.

The two most important are the revival of old amendment 76, dealing with geographical place of origin and informed consent, and a new amendment dealing with the patenting of embryoes, which has given rise to a fear it might be used as the basis for an attack on abortion.

Views as to whether the Directive will now go through smoothly range across all shades of opinion. Those who are optimistic believe that we may have a directive by the Autumn, but the Greens are likely to be active when the Directive goes to the Parliament in May or June.