University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Emerging European Values and Policies in Bioethics

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION What are the specific characteristics of the European approach to ethical problems in health care? Is it possible to identify a European approach in the area of bioethics? Though subsidiarity is an important value for the European Union, is harmonization of bioethical issues possible on a European level?

This study-unit attempts to address these questions. The Council of Europe and the European Union are the two institutions where bioethical issues are being discussed from different perspectives. Whereas the first European institution is concerned with human rights issues in the context of today’s biotechnological developments, the second one is attempting to establish adequate common European public policies to guide the novel and challenging bioethical issues raised by today’s sciences and the new technologies. The task of the European Group of Ethics (EGE) is to advise the Commission on these issues.

Bioethical issues, such as nanomedicine, human cloning and stem cell research, the use of cloned animals for food supply, ethical issues involving the patenting of human stem cells and living organisms, genetic testing, human tissue banking, animal, food and agricultural biotechnology, end-of-life issues and the European Conventions and Protocols on bioethics are some of the thorny bioethical issues that will be discussed in this study-unit.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course the student should:

a) acquire knowledge of the ethical values emerging in the field of bioethics in Europe

b) become acquainted with the documents of the European Group of Ethics (EGE) and the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI) of the Council of Europe

c) learn to evaluate the divergent opinions on bioethics emerging in Europe.

Reading List

- TEN HAVE Henk & GORDIJN Bert (eds), Bioethics in a European Perspective, Kluwer Academic Pub, Dordrecht, 2001.

- GASTMANS Christ et al. (eds), New Pathways for European Bioethics, Intersentia, 2007.


- RENDTORT Jacob & KEMP Peter, Basic Ethical Principles in European Bioethics and Biolaw: Autonomy, Dignity, Integrity and Vulnerability, vol. I & II, Centre for Ethics and Law, Copenhagen, 2000.


- SHERLOCK R. & MORREY J.D., Ethical Issues in Biotechnology, Rowmann & Littlefield, London, 2002.

- SOLTER D. et. al., Embryo Research in Pluralist Europe, Springer, Berlin, 2003.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation Yes 40%
Assignment Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Emmanuel Agius

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

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