barroso-march-1barroso-march-2almuniaToday the Committee hosted a major conference on the current economic crisis (the full title was ‘Let’s climb out of this crisis together and opt for progress!’). The European Commission’s President was, alongside our own President, Mario Sepi, the opening speaker. Two other Commission members, Vladimir Spidla and Joaquin Almunia, bolstered the proceedings. The debates were impassioned, the contributions rich and we have never had more television cameras or journalists in the house. Among the participants were the Presidents and Secretaries General of national economic and social councils, giving accounts of how the national implementation of the recovery plan looks to them. President Barroso reiterated the importance he attaches to the 7 May Prague employment summit and the contribution he has invited the EESC to make to it. Just one Barroso soundbite, translated from the French (where it works better); ‘we need more action and less gesticulation’. There’s a full account of the proceedings, speeches, press release, etc at the EESC’s website here. This was easily one of the Committee’s most successful conferences. It is just a shame that it was on such a sad topic.