In the evening I hotfooted it from the Bureau meeting to the residence of the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, Sir Kim Darroch, who had kindly invited all of the outgoing British members of the EESC for a farewell reception, preceded by an analysis of the current overall political and economic situation of the European Union, presented by the Ambassador himself and by his deputy, Andy Lebrecht. The invitation was extended to the Committee’s SG as a courtesy. Our hosts’ analysis was sober but upbeat. The Lisbon Treaty’s provisions must be fully implemented and consolidated, whilst the Union rises to such challenges as reform of the common agricultural policy and budgetary reform, and all of this against a backdrop of recession and probably only gradual recovery. In my books and articles about the Council of the European Union I have always argued that the permanent representatives are the unsung heroes of the European integration process; they work extremely hard and their days are terribly long but they always find agreement – it is the basic tenet of their fellowhood. And that is why, I think, the analyses of our hosts were essentially upbeat. The basic message is that we just need to roll up our sleeves and get on with it. Amen.