It was the European Economic and Social Committee’s great pleasure and privilege today to welcome the President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Jean-Paul Delevoye, and a sizeable delegation of Section Presidents and officials, including my fellow Secretary General, Christian Dors. Delevoye’s speech was something of a tour de force, combining pragmatism with vision and passion with realism. He argued with particular lucidity that Europe must either be an additional problem for member states or it must be a solution. I will provide a link to the full speech as soon as I can (it is worth reading in full), but here are a couple of aphoristic ‘soundbites’ that I noted down: ‘perhaps we are too focussed on the pain, and not enough on the cause’ and ‘there are things we must do that are politically extremely difficult but economically extremely necessary’. Delevoye pointed to a series of potential crises which could easily rock the Western model still further, but he was nevertheless optimistic, quoting St Exupéry’s dictum ‘Create dynamics and the solutions follow.’