Today I had lunch with Derk-Jan Eppink, a former Eurocrat and journalist and currently a Dutch MEP elected to represent Flanders. He was, like me, one of John Fitzmaurice’s trainees in the European Commission, and he kindly came along to my 29 November memorial lecture. The lunch was a follow-on from that. Derk-Jan has two books to his name. Life of a European Mandarin is a wonderful romp. Many of the characters in it were/are colleagues and friends and it is all the more enjoyable for that. Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe, which I just finished reading yesterday, is a more consistently Eurosceptical ‘plea for a United Europe of States’, to quote the blurb. In my lecture, I argued that it is time to take Euroscepticism seriously, and Derk-Jan is a good place to start. He is neither anti-integration (he favours the euro, for example) nor anti-European and whilst he argues that European politicians should think about issues such as integration of ethnic minorities, he is neither anti-immigration nor still less xenophobic. In addition, he has lived in the States and until recently was writing about American politics and commuting regularly back and forth to New York. Anyway, we reminisced about John and, like the two political anoraks we are (a characteristic of John’s stagiaires) discussed Belgian, Dutch, British, American and European politics. Like me, Derk-Jan remained in touch with John until the end and we agreed that he would have enjoyed the conversation!