The Biennial Conference concluded this morning with a dense and rich agenda divided into three parts. In the first, the three rapporteurs from the thematic workshops presented their conclusions and recommendations. In the second, a panel that included the Spanish Equality Minister, Bibiana Aido Almagro, for the Spanish Presidency, European Vice-President Isabelle Durant and former Commissioner Mario Monti discussed the institutional perspectives of what had been discussed over the previous two days. How can the EU’s institutional response be best articulated? And how can different levels of governance best work together in meeting the twin challenges of education and social cohesion? In the third, closing panel EESC President Mario Sepi handed to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso the Conference’s conclusions and Barroso then delivered a keynote address (that you can read here; there is also a video). Here are a few ‘soundbites’ from Barroso’s speech, to give a flavour: ‘You can’t have a monetary union without an economic union. The markets have understood this. I hope the politicians will understand.’; ‘We have problems of poverty that growth and employment cannot resolve. We have poor children, poor pensioners. So the reduction of poverty must also be an objective.’; ‘Not for the next election but for the next generation.’ You can read much more about the conference on the Committee’s website here.