The EESC’s enlarged Presidency met again this morning, first holding an exchange of views with Sweden’s Minister of Environment, Lena Ek. Like our own President, Staffan Nilsson, the minister had just returned from the Rio+20 conference. Swedes and Sweden feel a paternalistic sense of responsibility for the Rio process; after all, the first major international conference on environmental issues was the 1972 Stockholm Conference. With great lucidity and mastery of her subject, Lena Ek described the underlying dynamics of the negotiating process and the various tactics and strategies involved. In overall terms, the conference outcome was not on a par with the EU’s ambitions but she argued that it nevertheless gave the EU a basis on which to continue its work in a key number of areas. She was frank about the disappointments, particularly on the marine environment front, and she stressed the role that the Committee and civil society organisations more generally now had to play in ‘bringing Rio home’.