It is plenary week again and, once more, the European Economic and Social Committee’s efficient machine has clicked into action: management board meeting early yesterday morning, followed by the ‘pre-session’ meeting and then, in the evening, a meeting of the Enlarged Presidency (the President, Vice-Presidents, Group Presidents and the Secretary General). This afternoon, it was the turn of the 39-member Bureau to meet. As usual, the meeting was primarily about preparations for the May plenary session and future work, but there were also some ‘political’ discussions, in particular on budgetary matters and about facing up to the challenge of the tight deadlines the European Parliament has (entirely understandably) imposed where it asks, using its new Lisbon Treaty prerogative, for the Committee’s opinion on a legislative proposal. In general, the Committee always meets this (three-month) deadline, so the discussion was more about how the Committee can improve its working methods still further. Thanks also to President Staffan Nilsson’s chairmanship, the meeting went well. A hidden economy of well-prepared and well-chaired meetings is lower interpretation costs. The Bureau has quite deliberately done away with the possibility of running beyond six-thirty and hence using a second ‘slot’ of interpreters. By so doing it has achieved considerable economies.