This morning the EESC’s enlarged Presidency (the President, Vice-Presidents, Group Presidents and the SG) met and top of the agenda was a now successfully renegotiated draft Protocol of Cooperation with the European Commission. We will be welcoming European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to our plenary session next Wednesday and after the debate he and our own President, Staffan Nilsson, will hopefully sign the new Protocol. Before we get there, however, next Tuesday’s meeting of the Committee’s Bureau has to give its approval to the document, hence today’s preparatory meeting. Based on today’s discussion, all should go well. The new Protocol represents a considerable improvement on its predecessor and in particular provides for the Committee’s strengthened role under the new Lisbon Treaty’s provisions, particularly in the area of participatory democracy (Article 11).