I spent a fair part of this afternoon in an urgent meeting with my counterpart in the Committee of the Regions, Gerhard Stahl, and our budgetary staff discussing the not so good news about our draft 2012 budgets and the better news about Croatia’s 2013 accession. Unofficially, we have been informed about the Council’s position with regard to our draft 2012 budgets. We expected cuts and these have indeed come but, curiously and inexplicably, the Council has behaved ‘asymetrically’ with regard to those parts of our budgets devoted to our Joint Services. If those cuts are not reinstated by the Parliament during the conciliation procedure expected in November, then both Committees will have to review their contributions. Not for the first time, we have experienced the frustrations of smaller institutions in the post-Lisbon Treaty budgetary world – a world in which we are no longer participants but simple spectators. Paradoxically, whilst we had to discuss cuts, we also had to discuss what we will ask of the budgetary authority in a supplementary budget that the European Commission is preparing in anticipation of Croatia’s accession in July 2013. Each Committee will welcome nine new members as of then but already observers will start attending in early 2013, which means that essential documents (our rules of procedure, for example) will have to be available in Croatian upstream of their arrival. That, in turn, means that we will have to start recruiting translators already in 2012. It’s something of a topsy-turvy world: simultaneously discussing cuts and increases to what will in effect be the same budget!