The EESC Staff Committee’s annual Christmas Party is an extraordinary event, surely unique among the EU’s institutions, and to my mind graphically illustrates all that is best about the Committee’s staff. Once a year, in the run-up to Christmas, an army of volunteers turns two floors of the Committee building into a Christmas fair with countless stalls groaning under the weight of local and regional produce, most of it home made. You have to see it to believe it. The basic idea is to ply the guests (largely fellow staff members and their families, but also a good number of our members) with food and drink, entertain them (many of the ‘acts’ are also ‘homegrown’) and then to dance the night away.
This year, I brought the family and they were duly impressed, not just by the abundance of delicious food, but also by the wonderful atmosphere of goodwill and generous hospitality. No sooner had I walked in than Stavros, one of the trades unionists who had faced me across the conciliation table the evening before, gave me a thimble glass of very special ouzo, made by his father, and that gesture sums up the spirit of the event. In the pictures are part – just part – of the Czech table. Look at the artistry of those biscuits! Its Kraftwerk again – ‘Europe, endless.’