This afternoon I attended a regular meeting with my counterpart in the Committee of the Regions, Gerhard Stahl, together with our respective directors of finance and human resources and the directors and deputy directors of what we call the ‘Joint Services’. These are common services created by the two Committees through the pooling of their resources in order to achieve economies of scale and synergies. Thus we have common translation and logistics directorates. This potentially complex arrangement is overseen by a series of governance mechanisms, including this afternoon’s meeting. Although we Secretaries-General theoretically jointly chair these meetings, each Committee takes it in turn to host them, and so tradition has it that the hosting Secretary General takes the lead. Today, that was me. The meeting went very well. We are having to face up to a number of challenges at the moment, particularly as a consequence of a sustained period of austerity, but happily the cooperation has stood the test of time (we are now well into the fifth year of the current seven-year cooperation agreement).