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C 187/20 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 16. 6.


Whilst respecting the autonomy of governments to make their own decisions in the field of education, what is the
Commission’s view of proposals of this nature?

Does it not agree that to abolish such a long-standing subject which overlaps so much with other subjects would
place a major obstacle in the way of learning about other people in a world in which globalization and the process
of European unification increases, rather than reduces, the need for knowledge about geography and about the
peoples inhabiting our planet, especially Europe?

Does it not agree that this proposal will result in the impoverishment of the cultural heritage of Italian children
compared to their peers elsewhere in the EU? How will they be able, in future, to identify and situate the regions
of our continent, with which they could have to form vital links, in their work, or for the purposes of tourism or

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-3550/97 and E-3802/97
given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission
(10 December 1997)

The Commission takes note of the fact that in its draft proposal for the revision of the curriculum of the first two
years of secondary school the Italian ministry of Education has not introduced the teaching of geography.

The Commission refers the Honourable Members to Article 126 of the EC Treaty which defines the action of the
Community in the field of education as ‘fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content
of teaching and the organisation of education systems’.

The revision of the curriculum, the choice of subjects and their distribution over the years of schooling are all
domains under national competence.

(98/C 187/32) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3551/97

by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission
(12 November 1997)

Subject: Experiments on embryos

The media have widely reported that an English biologist, Jonathan Slaek, has produced headless frogs by means
of manipulation during the development of the embryo. This method makes it possible to develop embryos
containing only certain organs. As Slaek himself states, it is hoped to extend this method to mammals, including
human beings, so as to obtain a kind of ‘organ factory’ through the use of cloning.

Given that many researchers in various European states have said that similar experiments are being conducted in
their laboratories, will the Commission state in what research centres such experiments are taking place and
whether such research work is compatible with the Convention on human rights and biomedicine, as adopted by
the Council of Europe in November 1996 and signed by nine EU Member States (Denmark, Finland, France,
Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden), and generally with EU law and EP

Answer given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission

(30 January 1998)

The Commission is aware of the media attention being given to the experiments referred to by the Honourable

This type of research in no way forms part of the Community framework research and technological
development (TRD) programmes that are either in progress (4th Framework Programme) (1) or awaiting a
decision (5th Framework Programme) (2). The Commission feels that this type of research is incompatible with
basic ethical principles.