The purpose of this paper is (a) to point out some difficulties in the notion of European values, (b) nevertheless to present some ideas on what might be at least part of specific European traditions in bioethics, and (c) to outline a conceptual framework for further conceptual and empirical studies in this area. In European declarations and conventions, a number of important values are enshrined, including human dignity, integrity, freedoms, autonomy, health, safety and security, justice, prosperity, equity and equality, as well as solidarity. Since almost all of these values are also referred to in many other declarations, the notion of European values is problematic. Moreover, Europe is becoming increasingly multicultural due to immigration. If there is a particular European approach to ethics, based on European values, two possibilities suggest themselves. First, although the same terms referring to basic values also appear in, for instance, various UN declarations, these terms are interpreted in a particular way in Europe. Secondly, the difference lies in the ranking order between the values. In this paper, the second of these possibilities is explored. However, the notion of a ranking order can be interpreted in several ways, which are also discussed in the paper. The paper concludes with some remarks on the necessity of a global dialogue on ethical issues.