The show, as they say, is not over until the fat lady sings, but this morning the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee voted to grant the European Economic and Social Committee and its Secretary General discharge for the financial management of its 2010 budget. The discharge is a classic democratic procedure of parliamentary oversight and, as such, a vital part of the Union’s democratic and financial fabric. Each EU institution and agency has its annual accounts audited on the basis of random sampling by the European Court of Auditors, which reports on its findings to the Parliament. The Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee then considers whether to grant discharge or not – the alternatives being to postpone or even refuse. The EESC has a small and entirely administrative budget. The largest parts of the budget are devoted to salaries and buildings, so the potential for major mishaps is relatively small (no massive programmes or public procurement procedures). But, still, the obligation for sound and efficient financial management and maximum probity is always there for us all. This year’s positive result is particularly due to the fine and unstinting efforts of the Committee’s Budget Group Chairman, Jacek Krawczyk (Poland, Employers’ Group), and our rapporteur for the discharge, Peter Clever (Germany, Employers’ Group). The ‘fat lady’ will sing on 9 May, when the Parliament’s plenary will vote, though the result in the Budgetary Control Committee is normally a good indication of the way things will go.