On Tuesdays of plenary session weeks the EESC’s Bureau always meets, primarily to prepare the agenda of the plenary session (Wednesday and Thursday) but also to discuss important political issues. In addition, today the administration made its annual report to the Bureau about human resources management. In that context, as a small institution with probable zero growth over the next few years, tied into (an entirely positive) cooperation agreement with the Committee of the Regions and facing further budgetary squeezes, it is clear that the environment is challenging and likely to remain so for a considerable period. Nevertheless, as an Economic and Social Committee it is imperative that we should offer a competitive and exemplary working environment and, as the report today showed, on the whole we do. As our Swedish President, Staffan Nilsson, declared, we want an administration where women (and men) with young children do not feel obliged to put their ambitions on hold and where careers and families are considered compatible. It’s not always an easy balancing act, particularly in a period of austerity but, as he also pointed out, many of the reforms we have been introducing – flexitime, teleworking, etc – either have no negative effect on productivity or actually enhance it, particularly if we take the longer-term view, as administrations should.