The Committee’s Bureau met this afternoon to prepare tomorrow’s plenary session but, in a particularly rich meeting, also debated the current crisis, discussed the impending accession of Croatia and the consequences of future accessions for the composition of the Committee and, finally, decided that henceforth it would publish declarations on the financial interests of the Committee’s members. As to the debate on the crisis, I’ll write a post after tomorrow’s plenary session, where the debate will continue. Croatia will, if all goes well (as it should) become the 28th EU member state in the summer of 2013 – that will be in the middle of the Committee’s five year mandate. The draft accession treaty foresees that nine Croatian members will join the current 344 members of the Committee, but only until 2015. That is because the Lisbon Treaty set a cap of 350 for the Committee’s membership. Therefore, before 2015, the Council must decide, on the basis of a Commission proposal, on a new numerical composition for the Committee. It is unthinkable that the Commission would not want to know the Committee’s own point of view and the Bureau therefore set up a three-member task force to start exploring the issue – not only with a view to Croatia but other likely accessions in the not-too-distant future. Lastly, the European Parliament, in its resolution on the discharge of the 2009 budget for the Committee, called for the EESC’s members to publish declarations of their interests on the Committee’s website. The EESC’s Quaestors were initially nonplussed, since by definition the Committee’s members represent interests (already published on the Committee’s website). However, mindful of the spirit of openness and transparency that underpins such initiatives, the Bureau today decided that henceforth members would make such declarations. A rich agenda and a productive meeting!