Back in Brussels, I spent this afternoon in a meeting of the Political Monitoring Group. This is the top level of the governance mechanisms that enable the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions to share a significant part of their human and financial resources (particularly translators, buildings and logistics) in Joint Services, thus generating considerable economies of scale and realising considerable savings for the taxpayer. The meeting passed off well, notwithstanding the fact that both Committees are having to tighten their belts in this period of austerity. I am always interested in the way the discussions demonstrate the specific authenticities of the two advisory bodies. As one would expect, representatives of local and regional authorities refer frequently to their experiences in the town- or city¬†hall setting, whereas our members, not surprisingly, adopt a businessman’s or a trade unionist’s, or an NGO’s approach. The two approaches are clearly complementary. Recently, the two Committees have agreed to work together more frequently at political level and if these discussions on relatively technocratic issues are anything to go by, such joint approaches can only result in much richer contributions to the European Union’s policy-making debates, particularly in areas such as the Europe 2020 strategy, where the members of both Committees have their feet firmly planted in the real world.