In an address to the European Information Technology Conference (EITC '95), on 28 November 1995, Mrs. Edith Cresson, European Commissioner responsible for research, education and training, stressed the importance of the Community's specific RTD programme in the field of information technologies (ESPRIT) in bringing research closer to industry - a goal also pursued through the Commission Task Forces, recently set up by Commissioners Cresson, Bangemann and Kinnock. The Commissioner spoke of her plans to increase funding for the Task Forces. An official request along these lines has been submitted by Mrs. Cresson and a decision is expected in early January 1996. Mrs. Cresson also emphasized the important role of small- and medium-sized enterprises: "SMEs represent 98% of European industry (...) we will ensure that we dispose of the necessary means to allow SMEs to participate actively in the projects of the Task Forces". She also informed participants of her intention to simplify procedures for the participation of SMEs in the Community's Fourth Framework Programme. Commissioner Cresson noted the important contribution of the ESPRIT programme to a number of the Commission Task Forces, notably those dealing with the aeroplane of the future, the car of the future and multi-media educational software - areas in which electronics and software play a considerable role. With regard to the latter, the Commissioner placed particular emphasis on the important role of education and training in the development of the Information Society. In conclusion, Mrs. Cresson stressed that the ESPRIT programme will play a key role in the attainment of two major objectives: bringing research closer to industry and supplying a European content for the Information Society. She noted however, that care must be taken to bring Community action closer to European citizens and their concerns.