This evening I gave a talk as a member of a panel at a Conference on European Democracy organised by the European Union Democracy Observatory of the European University Institute. The title of my talk was ‘Laeken Re-visited: the New EU Institutional Landscape After the Lisbon Treaty.’ My basic argument was to recall the twin challenges identified by the member states in their December 2001 Laeken Declaration – enlargement and bridging the gap with the European citizen – and to which the Lisbon Treaty was supposed to respond. Whilst enlargement ultimately happened long before the Treaty was ratified and implemented (and so the Union had to, and did, manage without), the gap with the citizen remained, and the Treaty’s provisions on the democratic life of the Union were therefore still of complete relevance. Whilst there were clear priorities in terms of implementing the Treaty – creating the External Action Service, notably – the institutions should not forget that all of the Treaty’s provisions should be implemented, including those concerning the democratic life of the Union. There were several old EUI friends in the workshop and some more recent acquaintances, including the EUI’s current President, Josep Borrell. In a conversation at the cocktails after the workshop he told me that he recognised that a Secretary General in office had to pull his punches but that the risk that member states and EU institutions – including the European Parliament (of which he was once President) would simply revert to their old, ‘normal’ way of doing things was high and it was therefore important to continue to remind people why the Lisbon Treaty came into being in the first place. You can read my written-up speech notes here.