I spent a lot of the day, off-and-on, in a major conference organised by the EESC’s Various Interests Group on the theme of ‘What are the prospects for participatory democracy in Europe?’ The conference, chaired by Luca Jahier (Italy), the Chairman of the Various Interests Group, first looked back to what had been achieved and how the whole construction of Article 11 in the Lisbon Treaty had come about, then looked at various sectoral experiences, before looking forward and drawing up a road map for the promotion of the involvement of civil society in the future. An interesting contribution came from Janis Emmanouilidis, a senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre, who focused in on where civil society (and EESC) involvement could be most fruitful. He identified five areas: issues that simply can no longer be dealt with at member state level alone; neglected policy issues; issues of immediate and direct relevance to citizens; forward-looking strategic issues; and areas of specific expertise. And EP Vice-President Isabelle Durant made a telling point, based on her own politial experiences, of not believing that participation is necessarily better at the local level. There were so many rich and interesting contributions that I cannot start to cite them in this short post. On the other hand, I would like to record Jane Morrice (UK)’s witty definition of the EESC: ‘an information super-highway, of experience and expertise; a broad band of diversity, creativity and culture; and a wikipedia of wisdom and understanding!’