Industry Council discusses European competitiveness The main theme of the Industry Council, held on 28 September 1994, was the future competitiveness of European industry, in particular in the fields of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), biotechnology, and industrial policy. The Council also held an intense debate on th... The main theme of the Industry Council, held on 28 September 1994, was the future competitiveness of European industry, in particular in the fields of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), biotechnology, and industrial policy. The Council also held an intense debate on the restructuring of the steel industry.The Council issued an ultimatum to the steel industry, stating that it must reduce its production capacity by 19 million tonnes by the next Council meeting on 8 November 1994.The Council also adopted a resolution on the development of SME potential, and invited the Commission to propose actions to implement the integrated programme in favour of SMEs and the craft sector. The Commission must now:- Establish a committee, composed of representatives of the Member States, for the improvement and simplification of the SME business environment;- Organize thematic forums with Member States for the exchange of methods of best practice;- Present proposals concerning payment delays and trans-border payments;- Continue examining the problem of SME access to credit, with a view to adopting a recommendation;- Analyse the conclusions of the Berlin Conference on crafts and small businesses, with a view to writing a report for the Council.In the field of biotechnology, Mr. Bangemann recalled that European industry is lagging behind its US competitors (ECU 2.5 billion for the EU as against ECU 6.6 billion for the USA). The Council felt that there is a need to modify the regulatory framework in order to reduce the excessive constraints, notably the delays, on European industry.Regarding industrial policy, Mr. Bangemann presented a communication on "a policy of industrial competitiveness for the European Union". It contained four main lines of action:- Promotion of immaterial investments;- Development of industrial cooperation;- Reinforcement of competition;- Modernization of the industrial role of public authorities.The next meeting of the Council for Industry will take place on 8 November 1994.