Today I had a lunchtime chat with EESC Committee member Joost Van Iersel (Employers Group/Netherlands), who is a former Dutch member of parliament and is currently the Chairman of the EESC’s Steering Committee on the Europe 2020 Strategy. The Strategy’s title may not mean a lot to the woman or man on the Clapham omnibus but it remains the European Union’s collective economic, social and environmental blueprint for a sustainable future. My lunchtime guest was eloquent on the various ways in which the EESC is forever seeking to co-opt various sorts of expertise and networks into its own advisory function. The Consultative Committee on Industrial Change, for example, brings in delegates nominated by the Groups (from industry, for example) in order further to enrich the Committee’s reflections on the constant challenge of industrial change. Similarly, the Liaison Group (of which more on Friday) brings in representatives of pan-European civil society organisations. In the same vein, the Europe 2020 Steering Committee not only exercises a horizontal role within the Committee (thus mirroring the over-arching nature of the Strategy itself) but has the specificity of involving the national economic and social councils in the twenty-two member states where they exist. The Steering Committee thus provides the Councils with a unique platform they would otherwise not possess but also provides the European Commission with a nuique opportunity to plug into a broad consultative network with national civil society organisations. The value of the Steering Committee and its network is explicitly recognised in the recently renegotiated Protocol on Cooperation between the European Commission and the EESC. Yes, all eyes are quite naturally currently on responses to the crisis but the Europe 2020 Strategy remains the EU’s longer-term game plan not for survival but for renewed, jobs-rich and sustainable growth.