This midday I accompanied EESC Vice-President Anna Maria Darmanin to the opening of an information session commendably organised by two of the Committees’ Croatian trainees, Larisa Basic and Martina Stojakovic, and attended by a number of Croatian representatives, including Tanja Babic and Maja Adamic from the Croatian mission to the European Union. The purpose of the conference was to give information about a country that in July next year will become the European Union’s 28th member state. In my brief opening remarks I recounted how I sometimes had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. When I first started to work in an EU institution in 1985, Spain and Portugal were about to join (Greece had joined in 1981). Now, the EESC has a Swedish President and a Polish and a Maltese Vice-President – the membership of those three countries wasn’t even on the radar screen in 1985. The successive waves of enlargement of the European UnionĀ have beenĀ a great success story because, very soon after each new member state has joined, it feels as though the state in question had always belonged and, indeed, should always have belonged. I have no doubt that it will very soon feel that way with Croatia and the Croatians.