For the past two days the European Economic and Social Committee has been hosting a visit by the Palestinian Minister of Labour and a delegation of Palestinian civil society representatives. This afternoon I met with the delegation. The visit has been organised at the request of the ILO, which has been supporting the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to set up an Economic and Social Council for the Palestinian Territories, the aim being to enable our visitors to see how such an ESC works and to draw parallels and lessons. In my presentation I stressed five important considerations: the membership (non-governmental, apolitical, unelected, ‘authentic’, in the sense of representing real organisations); the composition of that membership (covering all aspects of social and civil dialogue); the administration (necessarily small and highly trained); consensus (the greater the consensus, the stronger the advice); and results (good and strong advice delivered in good time). The following questions were entirely pertinent, covering such issues as measuring effectiveness and optimal decision-making structures.