Next week sees an EESC Bureau meeting (Tuesday) and a plenary session (Wednesday and Thursday). The Committee’s normal rhythm would have seen a management board meeting on Monday morning followed by a preparatory meeting of all of the services involved in the organisation of the two meetings (known simply as a ‘pre-session’ meeting). As I have surely already written elsewhere, in the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly (where I once worked) we use to call such preparatory meetings ‘morning masses’ – for the obvious reason that they were held early each morning. In the Committee we get by with a single ‘mass’, in part because the sessions are shorter, in part because the Committee’s apolitical membership seeks consensus and ‘political’ amendments are therefore more rare. Because this coming Monday is a holiday, we advanced all of our Monday meetings to today, thus giving our Friday a very Monday-ish feel. Chairing these meetings is an immense pleasure. So efficient and knowledgeable are my colleagues that it feels like climbing into a powerful and well-upholstered limousine. All I have to do is push the starter button – and even that is largely symbolic.