This morning my secretariat held a small farewell ceremony for our departing trainee, Laura. We are spoiled by our trainees, who are always of the highest quality. Laura was no exception and we were very sorry to see her go. At the same time, we know that the future holds bright things in store for her and we await news of what will surely be a glittering career with impatience but also certainty. Once upon a time, far back in the mists, I was a trainee (or stagiaire) myself. What strikes me about contemporary trainees is how mature they are (if I compare them with my own behaviour at the time). When I see young Europeans like Laura I know that the future will be safe in their hands. Oh, yes, and saying farewell to our trainees is always sad but it is also, I must confess, always delicious. Never has a Secretary General had so many accomplished cooks in his staff!