Bruce MillanDuring the course of the evening I learned the sad news that Bruce Millan, a former Secretary of State for Scotland and European Commissioner for Regional Policy from 1989 to 1995, had passed away a few days before. A small, silver-haired, quiet, dignified, polite man, it might have been easy to underestimate Millan at first sight. In addition to his unflinching probity and straightalking habit, his twin secrets were sheer hard work and mastery of the detail. As a dossiers man he was an excellent complement to Jacques Delors’ visionary zeal. His own modesty would prevent him from claiming what others about him knew, which was that Europe’s new structural and cohesion policies owed a huge amount to his drive and sheer hard work and also to his inherent sense of fairness. Like all British Commissioners steeped in the Westminster tradition, Millan was viscerally respectful towards the European Parliament and parliamentary procedure (Strasbourg plenary sessions were the context in which I saw him the most). Where some saw parliamentary question time as a chore or a bore, Millan saw it as an important duty and would always try to give MEPs a proper answer – not in the sense of length or detail, but giving them the answer they sought, no matter how unpalatable, rather than the answer it might have been easier to give.