In a gesture of great symbolic importance, the first speaker to react to Staffan Nilsson’s address was European Vice-President Maros Sefcovic. The two men already know each other very well, having worked closely together on the Lisbon Strategy and having already started to cooperate closely on the Strategy’s successor, Europe 2020. Indeed, Sefcovic paid tribute to that cooperation in his address. Sefcovic explained that, in the context of participatory democracy and civil dialogue (priority themes for Staffan Nilsson and the Committee), there was reason to be optimistic that the implementing legislation for the citizens’ initiative could come into force before the end of the year. Moreover, now that the big interinstitutional dossier on the creation of the External Action Service had been resolved (agreement was announced earlier in the week in Strasbourg), the Commission could start to turn its attention more fully to other institutional aspects of the Lisbon Treaty, including the provisions of Article 11, thus fleshing out the draftsmen’s vision of what I like to call ‘compound democracy’; a mixture of representative, participatory and direct democracy. It is, as I will be explaining in a speech this evening (see subsequent post), a return to the spirit of the December 2001 Laeken Declaration. Laeken, which led to the European Convention, identified two challenges: enlargement, and the democratic deficit. The former is now, happily, a reality. There is still much work to do on the latter!