To my fifth (already!) EESC Bureau all yesterday afternoon and evening. It was a good-humoured and productive meeting. The President’s plans for a ‘white paper’ have now firmed up into a very promising ‘Programme for Europe’ which will be adopted at the March plenary session. Vice-President Seppo Kallio, with responsibility for budgetary matters, had a lot of good news to impart to the meeting: the 2007 discharge is on the way; the 2008 ‘plan B’ on the line for members’ allowances has resulted in a very high 99.5% take-up rate of credits, which bodes well for the decentralised system we have put in place to manage the line in 2009; the Budgets Committee approved the lifting of the reserve of 1 meuro on the same line on the nod; and the drafting process for the 2010 budget is progressing nicely. Vice-President Irini Pari, with responsibility for communication matters also delivered a meaty report on our growing activities (including a mention of our blogs!). From the SG’s point of view, the best thing about the meeting was the almost complete absence of discussion about administrative matters. Together with Mario Sepi we are determined to help the Bureau concentrate on political and strategic issues, and that is indeed what would appear to be happening.