This evening I had the honour and the pleasure of dining with three EESC Presidents – the current President, Staffan Nilsson, and two previous Presidents, Roger Briesch (in the middle)¬†and Dimitris Dimitriadis (on the left). By chance, they also represented the three different Groups in the Committee; employers (Dimitriadis), employees (Briesch) and various interests (Nilsson). The conversation ranged far and wide. A Thessaloniki-based businessman, Dimitriadis knows all about the current economic and social crisis. Briesch, a former Alsace-based steelworker, knows all about the side effects of re-structuring and the importance of social solidarity. And Nilsson, a dairy farmer, knows all about the current crisis in the dairy industry (caused through over-production and collapsing prices). Above and beyond all of that, though, all three remain convinced Europeans. Like all EESC members, their feet are firmly planted in the reality ‘out there’ in the ‘real world’ and that expertise is what they bring to the European policy-making process; they truly know what they are talking about.