The European Union set to approve a law to control organ transplants throughout the 27-nation bloc by June.
The measure, which aims to standardise the quality and safety of transplants, will be accompanied by an action plan aimed at increasing organ donations throughout the continent, Spanish Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said, at an EU conference.
Advertisement"The aim is to save 20,000 lives per year" and encourage cooperation between European countries by taking Spain as an example, she said.
Spain, which holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, led the world in organ donations in 2009 for the 18th consecutive year despite a sharp drop in road death fatalities, a key source of donated organs.
A total of 4,028 organ transplants were carried out last year in Spain from 1,605 donors, a new record for the country.
The number of deceased donors per million people, a commonly used benchmark, stood at 34.3 in 2009, almost double the 18.1 recorded in the entire European Union.
The EU directive, which could be approved by the European Parliament as early as May, "aims to satisfy a very high demand," said one of those behind the move, Slovak Christian Democrat MEP Miroslav Mikolasik.
Portuguese Health Minister Ana Maria Teodoro Jorge told the conference that "10 European citizens die every day for the lack of a organ donation," while some 60,000 Europeans are waiting for a transplant.
"There are excellent examples like Spain and other terrible ones like Bulgaria," a country with a rate of one donor for every million people, said Mikolasik.
The directive will clearly establish the "free and voluntary" nature of organ donation, a principle on which there is unanimity throughout Europe, he said.
The measure also aims to fight organ trafficking and "transplant tourism", in which affluent patients go to countries like China to undergo their operations.
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