I had a long chat today with Jacques Dermagne, the President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council. The French Council is currently undergoing a reform process. There’ll be equal representation of men and women, the age limit for membership will be reduced from 25 to 18, thirty-three members will be drawn from ecological and environmental organisations, citizens’ initiatives (500,000 signatures) will automatically be referred to the Council for its opinion and relations with the national parliament will be strengthened through a referral system. All of this is of great interest to the European Economic and Social Committee. Should the Lisbon Treaty be ratified and implemented, a new Treaty article will provide for the Council, on the basis of a proposal from the Commission, to take decisions concerning ‘the nature of the composition’ of the Committee at regular intervals ‘to take account of economic, social and demographic developments within the Union.’ In a sense, therefore, the Sarkozy reforms to the French Council have anticipated the sort of reforms in composition that the EESC might, in due course, reflect upon.