This afternoon the EESC’s November plenary session got under way with a thematic debate on the provisions of Article 11(1) and (2) of the Lisbon Treaty – frequently referred to in the Committee as ‘participatory democracy’. The occasion was the Committee’s adoption of an own-initiative opinion, authored by the President of the Various Interests Group, Luca Jahier (Italy), on the same theme and the Committee was happy to welcome Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament with particular responsibility for relations with organised civil society, and Diogo Pinto, Secretary general of the European Movement International. In his intervention Luca Jahier reminded the plenary of the process that had led to these provisions being in the Treaty before arguing that they still needed to be fleshed out and listing the various ways in which this could be done. Indeed, the EESC was calling for the full implementation of Article 11 as a means to strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the EU and avoiding the rise of extremism in Europe. Investing in Article 11 would, Jahier argued, help bring citizens closer to the EU project and provide the platform for the institutions to listen and better take into account the views of its citizens. The EESC should be a key player in this process. Durant and Pinto concurred. ‘Citizens do us good,’ said Durant!