I took the flight out to Cyprus again last night. This morning the European Economic and Social Committee’s Bureau held a short extraordinary meeting (picture), followed by a conference on the theme of the role of civil society in restoring trust and confidence in Europe. Opened by EESC President Staffan Nilsson, the conference was addressed by a series of keynote speakers, including Cyprus Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Sotiroula Charalambous and Heidi Lougheed (Employers’ Group, Ireland), who presented an exploratory opinion that had been requested by the minister on ‘strengthening participatory processes and the involvement of local authorities, NGOs and social partners in the implementation of Europe 2020.’  The conference was divided up into two sessions, the first hearing the views of civil society organisations in Cyprus, and the second considering ways in which the EU could/should help resolve the crisis. The chair of the afternoon session, Michael Smyth (Various Interests Group, United Kingdom), reformulated the question; how can organised civil society encourage and accelerate the apparent sea change from austerity to growth that seems to be getting under way?