Today I had a working lunch with an old friend and colleague, Jens Nymand Christensen, who is a director in the European Commission’s Secretariat General with responsibility for relations with the European Economic and Social Committee. In addition to the Treaty’s provisions, relations between the two institutions have been governed by a Protocol of Cooperation, first signed in 2001, and updated in 2005 and 2007. With the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions on participatory democracy now being more fully implemented (particularly regarding the European Citizens Initiative), and with the Committee eager to play to the full its role as an institutional intermediary between civil society organisations and the EU’s institutions in the more general context of participatory democracy, it is high time that the Protocol were updated and so negotiations have been under way between the two administrations (a similar negotiation process is taking place with the Committee of the Regions). The negotiations are far advanced and lunch today provided a possibility to address the few outstanding points. It was also an opportunity to catch up with a good friend and on Commission gossip!