The Council has published the text of its Decision of 25 June 1996 implementing a Community action programme to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry. According to the Decision, industrial competitiveness is a prerequisite for lasting economic growth and the creation of new jobs and will contribute to economic and social cohesion. In this context, the action programme aims to: - Modernize the industrial role of public authorities in order to eliminate unnecessary legal and administrative constraints on enterprises, particularly SMEs; - Ensure undisturbed competition, both internally and externally; - Strengthen industrial cooperation; - Promote intangible competitiveness factors. An Annex to the Decision sets out the guidelines for implementing the action programme. These include facilitating the emergence of the learning society by promoting training, developing industrial cooperation with third countries, establishing a database on the obstacles faced by European companies, and improving the functioning of the internal market, with a view to speeding up the standardization process.