This afternoon I attended the opening session of a conference hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee at the initiative of Carmello Cedrone (Employees’ Group, Italy) and organised by the Italian Labour Union (UIL) on the theme of the Mediterranean as an opportunity for the European Union (‘Il Mediterraneo: un’occasione per l’Unione Europea’). The event, organised to mark the opening of the UIL’s Brussels representation, was a good example of the way the Committee consciously sets out to be the house of organised civil society. The meeting, opened by EESC President Staffan Nilsson, was addressed by, among others, Bernadette Ségol, Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation, Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Social Affairs and Inclusion, and Gianni Pitella, Vice-President of the European Parliament. The conference itself was addressed to the opportunities the Mediterranean region offers in the specific context of growth and employment and how its full potential can be better realised, notably through more articulated policy-making.