Once again the EESC is at the beginning of a busy Bureau and plenary session week and once again the well-oiled machinery grinds into motion: early morning management board meeting, followed by the ‘pre-session’ meeting (of all services involved in the plenary session) and, in the late afternoon, a preparatory meeting of the enlarged Presidency (the President, two Vice-Presidents and the three Group Presidents, together with the Secretary General). We are now over half way through the current two-and-a-half year mandate and, at the political level, it shows, in the entirely positive sense that close working relations and mutual understanding have been consolidated, thus enabling the Committee to work effectively at what it does best: fostering consensus.