When I give talks about the European Economic and Social Committee I always stress its fundamentally consensual working methods. The Committee is an advisory body. The greater the majority that votes in favour of an opinion, the stronger that advice will be. Over more than fifty years the Committee has evolved working methods that, in recognition of that basic fact, encourage the greatest possible consensus. The risk of such an imperative is that the content of opinions is watered down to the lowest common denominator but there were two opinions on this afternoon’s plenary session agenda that demonstrated how the Committee can avoid that risk, even on sensitive and potentially divisive comments. The first was an opinion (rapporteur = Peter Morgan, Employers’ Group, United Kingdom) on prudential requirements for banks and investment firms. The Commission has tabled a draft regulation that is, in effect, part of the post-crisis architecture that the Union is trying to build for the banking sector. Peter is a respected expert on banks and banking and this no doubt enabled him to rally a large majority to his arguments. The opinion calls strongly inter alia¬†for ethical and sustainable new business models and radically revised reward structures and it urges the Commission to come forward with a directive relating to ethical and participatory banking.