This afternoon the EESC’s President, Staffan Nilsson, met the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. Obviously, I can’t release the contents of their very amicable and productive conversation, but I can say that Van Rompuy is an institutionalist. By this I mean that he would surely agree with Jean Monnet’s famous observation that ‘nothing can be done without citizens but nothing can last without institutions.’ Van Rompuy would surely agree with another saying, this one by one-time British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan who, when asked what a statesman should fear most, replied ‘Events, dear boy, events.’  With the media thick with coverage of the emergence of economic governance at EU level and Van Rompuy’s role in brokering such a development it is easy to forget that this was not in the job description when he was appointed.