Early this morning I delivered the opening remarks at a seminar bringing together all of the EESC’s Heads of Unit (and those of our Joint Services, shared with the Committee of the Regions) to consider a series of common themes and challenges. During the morning they would hear from a number of guest speakers and participate in a number of debates. In my little speech I tried to set the scene. I brought along a study, by Paul Du Gay, entitled In Praise of Bureaucracy. In today’s modern states, Du Gay argues, you cannot have a democracy without a bureaucracy. Put another way, bureaucracies are integral parts of our democracies. As so often, the Americans are far more advanced in their thinking. Not only do they recognise that the federal and state bureaucracies are integral parts of federal and state democracy but, they argue, for those democracies to be truly democratic the bureaucracies must also be democratic, which means that they must be representative. And that is precisely the issue the Heads of Unit were considering today, for diversity and assuring the rights of all people are important aspects of representativeness. The European Economic and Social Committee sees itself as an important flanking partner in the European Union’s democratic life and so therefore the onus is also on us to ensure, through better representativeness, that our bureaucracy, our administration, is more democratic.