BRUSSELS, December 3, 2003 ( – Thanks to the objections of Germany, Italy, Portugal, Austria and Luxembourg, a proposal to begin EU funding of destructive research on human embryos has again been delayed. Moreover, Ireland is set to take the EU Presidency in 2004, and Irish Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney said, “I don't see the possibility of reaching a deal in the Irish presidency.”

The moratorium on funding such controversial research from the EU budget expires on December 31. EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin said that the funding would be initiated but “we will now have to proceed on a case by case basis, which will lead to legal uncertainty.”

Last week the vote on the measure was delayed until today in the hope that an agreement would be reached. However, activists pushing for the controversial research will not concede that certain countries with serious moral objections to destructive research on human embryos should not be forced to fund such research through their contributions to the EU.