Speaking at the official launch of the SOCRATES programme, organized by the French presidency in La Villette, France, on 26 June 1995, Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner responsible for science, research and development, and education and training, stressed the importance of education in promoting competitiveness and creating employment. In presenting the SOCRATES programme, Mrs. Cresson outlined the following objectives: - Improvement in the quality of teaching through the dissemination of pedagogical innovations and practices and exchanges between teaching establishments; - Mobility of students and teachers; - Adaptation of training systems to new communication technologies; - Reduction of school drop-outs and recognition of the need for continued education throughout the life cycle. These objectives, she said, were already incorporated in earlier actions undertaken by the European Union in the field of education. What is new about SOCRATES is that it is a global programme which incorporates all preceding actions and also adds some new ones. The SOCRATES programme, therefore, includes the already known programmes ERASMUS, LINGUA, EURYDICE and ARION and adds the COMENIUS programme which concerns secondary education. The whole education field is thus covered by a range of programmes implemented over the same time period, 1995-1999. The regroupment of these programmes under one heading will make it possible to better coordinate actions undertaken in specific areas and those affecting all areas (languages and new technologies).