I happily gave up part of this Saturday morning to take part in a panel discussion at the Brussels Citizens University, organised on the premises of the Free University of Brussels (ULB). This ‘attempt at collective intelligence’, as it describes itself, brings together people from Brussels, experts, political, economic and associative representatives as well as simple citizens ‘to come and think out their city region’. I was on a panel entitled ‘Europeans and the City’, encompassing such thorny issues as rights and duties, taxation, the attractiveness of the city and civic participation. I had come along with notes for a speech about how we civil servants can and must do more. But the first speaker in our panel played devil’s advocate by presenting the European Union and its institutions as a milch cow that ought to be giving much more milk, so I abandoned my initial intentions and came out fighting. Where would Brussels be if it didn’t have the European institutions? Interestingly, my generally pugnacious line got quite a lot of support from the audience. In due course I shall write up both sets of speaking notes and post them here and on my website. At the end, I got showered with visiting cards and e-mail addresses and I am definitely going to try and keep in touch with those members of the audience (charity workers, students, academics, civil servants) who spoke out. Warm congratulations to the organisers of the Brussels Citizens’ University for providing a context in which such dialogue can take place. I hope I’ll be invited back next year.