It’s three o’clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, 23 December 2009, and I have just sent everybody home early (it’s our last day of work). We have been working so hard this year and we have achieved an awful lot. A couple of hours off is the least the staff collectively deserve. Next year promises all sorts of positive challenges and I know that the Committee will rise to meet them. I like to argue that the Committee has two strengths; its members, and its staff. Together, in 2010, we are going to continue to work together to put the Committee at the forefront of the ‘civil dialogue’ foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty. Personally, I relish the prospect. But for now it is time for everybody, members and staff, to relax together with family and friends and to recharge batteries.