Every year the European Parliament considers whether to grant the Secretaries General of the European Union’s institutions formal discharge for their implementation of their respective budgets. It is a sort of ultimate approval of their financial management record. The procedure runs two years behind. Last year, for example, I was granted discharge for the implementation of the 2008 budget but, since I took up my mandate in October, I was only truly responsible for three months of that year. This time, for 2009, the whole year was my ‘baby’, and I was therefore delighted to learn, via a telephone call from Strasbourg, that I, and the Committee, had been granted discharge. For, whilst the Secretary General is nominally the one granted the discharge, it is in reality a thumbs-up for the whole institution, including its administration and its political authorities.