President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday France must improve the availability of palliative care and there would be a draft bill by the end of the summer on whether some form of assisted dying should be allowed.
He said the bill would build on the work of a group of 184 randomly appointed French citizens who have debated the issue since December.
Macron did not say whether he wanted euthanasia or assisted suicide to be allowed in France or if the bill would include either or both.
France’s national council of doctors, l’Ordre des medecins, has said it opposes involving doctors in helping people kill themselves.
Assisted suicide – where medical personnel give someone the means to kill themselves – or voluntary euthanasia – where a physician plays an active role to end a person’s life at that person’s request – is allowed in several countries in Europe.
Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s.
Euthanasia is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Spain, and last year an Italian man, paralysed 12 years earlier in a traffic accident, died in Italy’s first case of assisted suicide.
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There are heated debates in other EU countries including Portugal.
Some other countries accept only passive euthanasia, where, at the patient’s request, some medical treatments are stopped, causing the person’s death.