The information days for our new members are now over and I think I can describe the event without exaggeration as a great success and a great experience. There was a lovely atmosphere that reminded me a little bit of freshers’ days at university. I was delighted three times over. In the first place, it was clear that our new members very much appreciated the welcome we gave them. Most of them have now got all of the inevitable but irksome bureaucratic formalities out of the way and can come back to the constitutive plenary session next week with their minds at rest. In the second place, I could see that our staff really enjoyed themselves. Last and not least, all of the time and effort that so many colleagues had invested in the operation paid off in style. I am proud of them. Our secretariat may be small (smaller than virtually all Commissions Directorates-General, for example), but its professionalism and its excellence shone brightly through over the past two days.