Commissioner Philippe Busquin reaffirmed the European Commission's commitment
to encouraging the participation of SMEs (small and medium size enterprises)
in EU research programmes in his opening
to the SME Technology Days conference in Porto at the end of June 2000.
also visited a factory operated by a Portuguese SME, Juvenal
Ferreira da Silva, that is using a new technology for protecting wine
from chemical or microbial contamination from cork stoppers developed
in an EU-funded research project. The system, which uses microwaves to
treat the corks, was developed by a German research institute, Rudolf
Ohlinger, on behalf of Juvenal, and two other SMEs from Germany and
Spain. The problem of corked wine costs the European wine industry
500 million a year.
of an innovative technique for the production of microbial and chemical
inactive wine and champagne cork stoppers' project demonstrates how
EU research funding is helping SMEs as well as large companies and traditional
industries in addition to the high tech sector. At the conference, Hans-Werner
Müller, Secretary General of UEAPME, the body representing Europe's
SMEs, underlined the need for SMEs in traditional industries to continue
to receive European research support. He reminded the audience that high
tech companies in fields such as biotechnology account for only 3% of
the total number of SMEs in Europe and that the vast majority operate
in sectors like clothing, leather and construction.
information on the SME Technology Days event see :