lead_grapeshotIt has been a strange week. Beyond the usual coordination meetings, there was only one ‘set piece’ meeting, of the Committee’s Budget Group, on Tuesday morning, and when I looked at my timetable on Monday morning it did not seem as full to overflowing as is normally the case. And yet, in reality, it was quite a heavy week. This was down to a succession of meetings, most of them with individuals – members and staff – on a number of fraught or difficult topics. It reminds me of the observation made by a military man (was it Wellington?) that he feared grape shot more than cannon balls. Meanwhile, in the EU institutions more generally, there was a strong sense of a collective rolling-up of sleeves and getting down to things: the Barroso II Commission was at last approved and able to get to work, and the new-style European Council met, convoked by its new-style President, Herman Van Rompuy. The birthing pains of the new External Action Service will no doubt rumble on but, thankfully, we can otherwise put constitutional discussions behind us (for a while, at least) and get back to the EU’s primary raison d’ĂȘtre; to make Europe work.