Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-04-21-Speech-1-185"

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"Mr President, let me thank all those who have spoken on this particularly sensitive subject and allow me to make some comments. Mr Maaten and others spoke about the European donor card, which we have adopted as an addition to what is provided in Member States. Mr Maaten quoted some correct figures: 80% of citizens surveyed were in favour, but only 12% have a donor card. However, another statistic should give us cause for concern: of those who had a donor card when the time came for them to become donors, 50% did not donate their organs because their families refused. There are thus problems that we cannot be sure will be solved with a European donor card. As for the point raised by Mr Matsakis about ‘presumed consent’, this is a matter for the Member States. According to my fellow Member who spoke about Scotland, presumed consent solves the problem. It is up to the Member States to decide whether to adopt such a measure. We should not forget the principle of subsidiarity. In this case, we must see which systems have succeeded, so that we can exchange experience and procedures, as in the case of Spain, to which Mrs Sornosa Martínez has referred. Why do we not have in different hospitals coordinators, specialised doctors and nurses, able to recognise potential donors so that transplants can go ahead and we can thus increase the availability of organs? Mrs Auken, who is not here at the moment, has said that we will never be able to fill the shortfall in organ donation. As a doctor and a scientist, my answer is that perhaps I will not live to see the day, or future generations will, but in the decades to come we will be able to make the organ we want from the cells of the individual who needs it, maybe from his skin or from elsewhere. Commissioner, you spoke about umbilical cord blood cells and about their storage. Now let me point out that we really must not let them fall into the hands of private firms operating for profit. In my country, Cyprus, the Karaiskakio Foundation provides this service free of charge. There are also three private firms charging parents to store umbilical cord blood cells. These cells are also precursor and stem cells; they are very valuable, as you know. What can I say about the reference made to trade? My fellow Member referred to the report by Carla Del Ponte. I expected to see this report earlier, to be honest. Naturally, it is yet more proof that trafficking is also taking place in the enlarged Europe. I thank all of you once again. I think that the time has now come for us as European citizens to take action. We must mobilise, coordinate, raise the awareness of those around us and set a good example: we must become organ donors ourselves."@en1

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