Which brings me neatly on to the Protocol on Cooperation between the EESC and the European Commission. I have┬áposted a few articles about the ongoing negotiations but today the Presidents of the two institutions formally signed the new Protocol and Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, who had fronted the Commission’s side in the negotiations, was also there to join in the celebrations. The first Protocol was signed in 2005, in the wake of the Convention and when the Constitutional Treaty was still expected to be ratified. This version is designed to take into account the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions, particularly with regard to participatory democracy. Other innovations/improvements include strengthened strategic political dialogue, acknowledgement of the role played by the network of national economic and social councils, codification of cooperation on communication and information, consolidation of the role the Committee plays in external relations and improved inter-institutional programming.