As I never tire of pointing out, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions are engaged in a unique and pioneering arrangement whereby, through pooling of resources (in translation, logistics, IT) and careful planning, the two institutions achieve considerable economies of scale and, as last year’s mid-term review of the arrangement concluded,¬†with considerable success. I am convinced that this success is due in no small part to a complex set of governance mechanisms at all levels, up to and including the Secretaries General and, through the Political Monitoring Group, our political masters. My counterpart at the Committee of the Regions, Gerhard Stahl, and I ‘live’ on the same corridor and occasionally drop in on one another for informal chats. In addition, we meet more formally at regular intervals and discuss agenda points prepared for us by our secretariats. We had such a meeting today and, as always, it was entirely positive and productive. This is not just because Gerhard and I have known each other for a very long time but also because we are both convinced that it is our common duty to make sure that the administrative cooperation between the two Committees works well – and it does.