This afternoon the Committee’s Bureau met to discuss a number of important issues, from the pragmatic (for example, probable plenary meeting dates in 2012) to the political (for example, mandate for the renegotiation of the Committee’s Protocol of Cooperation with the European Commission). The morning began with a working breakfast meeting of the so-called enlarged Presidency (the President, Vice-Presidents, Group Presidents and the Secretary General). Both meetings passed off without major hitches. Having sat in more than a few of these meetings now I am struck by an ineluctable rule; no matter how well a meeting is prepared, and no matter how hard efforts are made to cover all eventualities, something unexpected will always arise. Today’s meetings were the exceptions that proved the rule and our colleagues the interpreters had a relatively early evening. On the substance, the Protocol of Cooperation with the European Commission, first signed in 2005, needs to be updated to take into account the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, particularly on participatory democracy and structured dialogue with organised civil society.