This evening the EESC’s President, Staffan Nilsson, and I said thank you and farewell to a number of colleagues leaving on their well-earned retirements. Tradition has it that the Secretary General says a few words about each retiring colleague (prepared by their colleagues and always¬†full of warmth and humour) before the President hands over a certificate and a commemorative tray.¬†It is always a bitter-sweet occasion. This time, it seemed to me, we were losing a lot of important people and personalities and also an important part of the Committee’s collective memory. It would be insidious to single anybody out for special praise because everybody in the picture has done a lot of good and hard work for the Committee and richly deserves a long and fulfilling retirement. However, I would like to write just a little about the lady standing to my left in the photograph, Anick Carer. Anick, French, and who will retire at least in part to her beloved Bretagne, first worked in the Committee in 1969. That’s right: 1969. Anick has therefore known and worked with every single one of the eight Secretaries-General of the Committee to date and innumerable Presidents. When I write that I sense we are losing an important part of the administration’s collective memory, that is what I mean. That is also what I mean when I write that our colleagues, each and every one of them, deserve a long and fulfilling retirement. I always find the occasion a humbling experience.