The Economic and Social Committee of the European Union adopted its opinion on the Commission's proposal relating to additional funding of ECU 700 million for the Fourth RTD Framework Programme at its plenary session in Brussels on 29 May 1996. The Committee approved in principle the Commission's proposal, underlining the fact that research, technological development and innovation is a priority area for action, to ensure that Community industry grows in competitiveness and to boost job creation in the perspective of social and economic cohesion. The Committee is concerned that the Community is lagging behind its competitors in technological development. Another concern is the lack of transparency in the Commission's creation of the research/industry task forces, and the subsequent selection of priority projects for extra financing. It fears that this may lead to overspecialization of Community research in a limited number of areas in the long term, with consequent dangers for economic and social cohesion. The ESC regrets that the proposal does not favour greater participation by SMEs, which are very important sources of job creation in Europe. The Committee's report therefore recommends the creation of two new task forces, one for SMEs and one for innovation, so as to ensure synergies between research policy and industrial policy in the areas of industrial competitiveness, employment creation and economic and social cohesion.