The EESC President, Staffan Nilsson, delightedly welcomed a group of Croatian observers to our plenary session for the first time. Between now and next July, when Croatia will officially become the 28th member state of the European Union, Croatian observers will be regularly following the work of the Committee, getting a feel for its working methods and culture. If, as they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression then this was a good first plenary session for them to attend: a rich discussion with a Commissioner; a thematic debate with a strong panel of visiting speakers; a keynote opinion on the cost of non-Europe; a good example, in the opinion on the posting of workers, of the Committee’s concensus-building working methods at their best; and an exhibition and evening event to mark the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. Our guests had pride of place at the front of the assembly and, when he felt it appropriate, Staffan took trouble to explain to them how a particular procedure worked. Soon, nine Croatian members will take their place on the Committee’s benches and very soon it will feel as if they have always been there – which is just how it should be.