Howard Taft; an enlarged President

This morning I chaired the usual weekly coordination meeting of the Committee’s senior management and in the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Committee’s enlarged Presidency. The meeting – in effect, an informal body of the Committee – is typically convoked by the President to prepare important Bureau discussions and/or decisions. It is composed of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the three Group Presidents and, by clearing the ground and sorting the wheat from the chaff, is an important generator of consensus within the Committee. On the agenda of this afternoon’s meeting were four interlinked subjects: the Committee’s ambitions and intentions concerning the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions on participatory democracy; adjustments to the Committee’s Rules of Procedure as a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions; the Committee’s mission statement; and the ongoing situation with regard to the Committee’s amending budget for 2010 (a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions) and its draft budget for 2011. It was a substantive agenda, but the meeting went very well. One of the Council’s reproaches in the budgetary field is that the amending budget uses conditional language but, as was plain from the discussions this afternoon, from the simple point of view of managerial prudence the Committee has to be cautious about developing fresh tasks and roles without the necessary resources to do them.