The plenary session this afternoon was addressed by Michel Barnier, European Commissioner with responsibility for the Internal Market and Services, who had come, at his request, to report on the Commission’s initiatives relating to the international capital markets. Refreshingly, the first thing he did was to put his prepared speech to one side (though he was careful to praise its excellence and the good work of his staff) and then he delivered a from-the-heart spontaneous speech. To give you a flavour, here are the ‘soundbites’ I noted down. He had been ‘terribly scarred’ by the 2005 referendum result in France. He did not believe in the thesis of inevitable decline, and nor did he believe in the thesis of ‘fatalism’ – for as long as Europeans were not fatalistic. On the other hand, he warned against nostalgia. What he and his fellow Commissioners were trying to do was to instal ‘true governance’ and ‘true regulation’ and to ‘put morality and ethics back into the system’. He believed profoundly that ‘the financial markets should be put at the service of the economy and not the contrary.’ He spoke of three imperatives arising out of the crisis: we should draw the lessons, we should play collectively, and we should race our faces to the horizon. For Barnier, it was a question of ambition. Did we Europeans still want to be at the top table in twenty or thirty years time? I couldn’t note anymore because his pen ran out of ink and so I loaned him mine!