This afternoon Polish deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, Mr Waldemar Pawlak, was joined by the President of the European Parliament, Mr Jerzy Buzek. Coincidentally, both men are Polish and both have served as prime minister of their country. I write ‘coincidentally’ because, of course, this month marks the beginning of the first ever Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The common theme our visitors addressed was ‘For a sustainable Europe: meeting the expectations of EU citizens – the answers of the EU institutions.’ Both Pawlak and Buzek argued strongly that Europe should consciously seek to come out of the current crisis stronger and that it shouldn’t abandon its common values nor allow itself to shrink back to the old nationalisms. As President-in-office, Pawlak will oversee the beginnings of the negotiations about the 2014-20 multi-annual financial framework for the European Union and in a sense he used this occasion to set out his stall. This could be summed up as follows: the EU budget is tiny and it is wrong to calculate the benefits (or the ‘costs’) of membership only in terms of those tiny financial transfers. To calculate the real benefits of membership of the EU one has to look at the bigger picture: the benefits of trading within a single European market, for example. It will be an interesting autumn.