This morning the plenary session heard from the European Commissioner with responsibility for agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, on his vision for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Now, it just so happens that the new President of the EESC, Staffan Nilsson, is a farmer, and farming and farmers, as an important part of organised civil society, are well represented in the Committee’s membership, so the Commissioner had an informed debate on his hands. And, quite clearly, he appreciated this. The Commission’s three-pillared vision for the post-2013 CAP puts the emphasis variously on a safe and sufficient food supply, sustainability and profitability and the maintenance of a living countryside. EESC members speaking in the ensuing debate insisted that there should be a new pact between farmers and society, and that there should be a more targeted relationship between what farmers receive and their function (rather than a readjustment of their historic entitlement, that is). There were echoes in Ciolos’s analysis of what the 9 November EESC Bureau had heard from the Commissioner with responsibility for the Budget, Janusz Lewandowski (link to post here): revolutions are impossible, and thus the direction of change (and hence the setting of future trends) is as important as the substance.