I am a British national and a former EU official who has lived, worked and studied in the UK, Italy, France and Belgium. In 2008 I was appointed Secretary General of the European Economic and Social Committee, a European Union advisory body composed of 353 representatives of civil society organisations in the 28 member states, with a five-year mandate which ended on 30 September 2013. From the outset I decided to keep a blog which, I should stress, was completely private and in no way committed my institution, but with a three-fold aim. First, I wanted to ‘humanise’ the position of Secretary General by giving people an idea about what I did both in and out of the office. Second, I wanted to pass the message that officials should  have a life outside of work. Brussels, Belgium and the EU member states are rich in cultural and other activities. We should all be enjoying them. They are also what Europe is about. Third, I wanted to let people know that in this brave new world of the social media it is OK to be active on blogs and the social media.