Sad news came in whilst we were in Malta. The European Economic and Social Committee’s first ever Secretary General, Jacques Genton, passed away on Thursday, 27 November at the age of 90. He had a rich and varied public career in national and local French politics, notably serving as a Deputy and then as a Senator (he was President of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee) and as Mayor of Sancerre. He also played a key role in the establishment of the European Economic Community and served as an expert in the newly-formed Council of Ministers before being nominated in 1958 as the EESC’s first Secretary General. He served for no less than 13 years. Like Emile Noël (first Secretary General of the European Commission, served for 28 years) and Christian Calmes (first Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, served for 21 years), he was one of a select band of pioneering senior civil servants who created the European public administration and infused it with the strong sense of purpose that it has retained until this day. One of our members, Hubert Ghigonis, knew Genton personally and recalled that he had also been active at the Messina conference, and later worked closely with Maurice Faure (then a French Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Jean-François Poncet. Our Bureau observed a minute’s silence in his memory and we’re now organising a memorial service for early in the New Year. Dean Acheson famously wrote ‘At the Creation’, about his years at the US State Department during a momentous period of post-war history. It’s a shame that such European figures did not also get to record their impressions of the momentous early years of the EU’s life.