New BureauAll of today was devoted to the Lisbon Treaty. Early in the morning the enlarged Presidency (President, Vice Presidents, Group Presidents and the SG) met and debated a discussion paper penned by the President himself and then this paper was presented and debated in an extraordinary meeting of the Bureau devoted entirely to this theme. The EESC is therefore the first EU institution to have reacted, following the very positive result in the Irish referendum on Friday and Saturday. Of course, the Treaty is not yet entirely ratified, let alone implemented, but it now seems like a matter of time. In a sense, as I wrote in a post last Saturday, the way in which the referendum was won is grist to the Committee’s mill. Civil society organisations played a vital role (as they did, incidentally, in the ‘Nice II’ result). Through the process that started with the Convention and mutated through the Constitutional Treaty to the Lisbon Treaty, a number of revolutionary concepts have survived. One of these is participatory democracy and the obligation on all of the institutions to enter into a structured dialogue with civil society organisations. Hence the debates today. The Committee doesn’t claim an exclusive role in this context, but it obviously will – or should – play an important role. Making sure that it does was what today’s debates were about.