This afternoon’s Bureau meeting adopted the EESC’s draft budget for 2011. In a sober and consensual debate, the Bureau members recognised that all EU institutions are facing a difficult task in this context. All are painfully aware of the economic and financial crisis and of its social consequences. At the same time, the institutions have to respond to the positive challenges set for them all by the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions. It’s a difficult balancing act. We are also heading into unknown territory, for the Lisbon Treaty has changed the budget procedure and nobody knows exactly how it will work for the smaller institutions not formally involved in the procedure themselves. In case you are wondering, yes, it is strange that the institutions should have to adopt their draft budgets so far in advance of the year in question, but that’s life.