Our Presidents set the scene

As I never tire of pointing out, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions have engaged in a unique and pioneering arrangement whereby they jointly pool many of their resources, particularly for translation and logistics (buildings, IT, etc). This leads to synergies and economies of scale that represent considerable savings for the EU budget and hence for the taxpayer. The arrangement requires close cooperation and coordination. By carefully planning their meeting calendars, for example, the two Committees spread the work load for their translators, providing a steady flow and avoiding ‘peaks’ and ‘troughs’. The arrangement is oiled through a series of joint governance mechanisms and an overall cooperation agreement. Today, I and my CoR counterpart, Gerhard Stahl, held a regular lunchtime meeting to discuss issues of common concern and then in the afternoon  jointly chaired a management meeting of our joint services. Gerhard and I have known each other for donkeys’ years and that helps, I am sure, but we were happy to note that, as a mid-term review of the cooperation agreement fast approaches, the arrangement is working very well, enabling the Committees to realise economies and synergies whilst maintaining their respective roles and identities. At the request of our political authorities, we will shortly be publishing a pamphlet that details the various forms of interinstitutional cooperation that we champion so very effectively. The working title is ‘An Efficient Relationship‘.