The annual discharge procedure for the European institutions is getting under way. Today I enjoyed an amicable working lunch at the European Parliament with Spanish S&D MEP Ines Ayala Sender, who is rapporteur for the discharge procedure for the Committee’s 2010 budget (the procedure is always delayed by two years). The EESC seeks to run a tight ship. In addition to our internal audit function and strict financial verification we are subject, like all of the institutions, to external audits and random checks by the European Court of Auditors. We practice complete openness and transparency with the EU’s budgetary control mechanisms and we seek always to be a ‘learning organisation’. We always follow up on recommendations from the European Parliament in the discharge context and we draft our annual financial report in such a way that the Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee can see exactly what we have done. In regard to the 2009 discharge procedure, the Parliament made two recommendations and the Committee has followed both of them up. The lunch went well and I hope that, as in previous years, the Parliament will vote the Committee discharge.