I gave a talk this afternoon to a group of consultants and lobbyists. It was a fun occasion because I was invited to talk about pretty much whatever I wanted and on the basis of ‘Chatham House rules’ (that is, off the record). ON the record, I spoke about the European Union’s institutional landscape post-Lisbon Treaty and about my concerns that the twin challenges the 2001 Laeken Declaration had identified (pending enlargement and the gap between the EU and its citizens), and which the Lisbon Treaty was intended to meet, had not in fact been met. If anything, as we know, the gap with the citizen in particular¬†is growing. So what is to be done? I speculated that we were in a transitional phase where our politics had not yet adapted to the scale of a continent and an embryonic federation. But the current debates about how to deal with the crisis suggest the outlines of a future such system. Do we need more or less Europe? Should more be done by ‘Brussels’ or by the Member States or not done by any state at all? Is a centralised budget an unnecessary imposition or an efficient multiplier? Should the budget be larger? If we look across the Atlantic we can surely see similarities. On a different note, the lady in the picture was in my audience. Her name is Sophie Westlake. The surname ‘Westlake’ is of Devonshire origin. The Westlakes slowly spread to Cornwall and Somerset and then to the rest of England but still remain relatively rare. Some also migrated to Canada and Australia and the name is quite common in Eastern Canada. But until now there was only one Westlake in Brussels – me. Not any more!