This afternoon the 2006-2010 mandate Bureau of the Committee met for the last time. It was a moment to take stock, but it was also a full working meeting, with a number of political issues on the agenda, from an agreement with the Committee’s partner organisation in Ukraine through to a draft resolution on the Roma situation, not to forget amendments to the Committee’s rules of procedure (always a delicate matter). But everything passed off well and the meeting was bathed in the bitter-sweet light of all endings: the end of Mario Sepi’s Presidency, the end of the Vice-Presidencies of Irini Pari and Seppo Kallio, the end of various Section Presidencies and the end of the Bureau itself. When it came to taking stock, there was a recognition that a great deal had been achieved and a solid platform had been built from which the new, incoming Committee and Presidency could build a stronger role for the institution not only in carrying out its core tasks as a consultative body but also in fleshing out the provisions of Article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty on the democratic life of the Union. In our shorthand we call the concept ‘participatory democracy’, but what we mean is that in something as rich and complex as the European Union, with all its cultures and languages and layers of governance, civil society organisations must also play their role and have their voice.