European Union ministers have settled the row over the funding of stem cell research that threatened to block the launch of the 6th Framework Programme for Research (FP6).

Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Austria announced last month that they were not willing to support the funding of stem cell research with EU money. But on Monday, the EU research ministers finally agreed on a compromise. The EU will subsidize research involving human stem cell lines, as long as those lines already exist. There will, however, be a moratorium on research involving new stem cell lines. The freeze will remain in place until the end of 2003. Reproductive and therapeutic cloning will not be financed during the period of the FP6 (2002–06).

Italy was the only country to reject the deal, arguing that the moratorium should be implemented for longer. The German government welcomed the compromise: "We consider the moratorium a great...

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