The atmosphere of the Conference’s closing session was a mixture of optimism, pessimism and frustration, though President Mario Sepi finished on an upbeat note. Here are a few ‘soundbites’. ‘I am a trades unionist and we were always brought up on a simple philosophy; if you work, you shouldn’t be poor. But now there is a growing army of the working poor.’ ‘We need to be more pre-emptive than corrective. We need growth-friendly measures – dynamic, disciplined, collective.’ Professor Maria Joao Rodriguez: ‘How can the EU 2020 be successful if the challenges are bigger but the instruments are the same? We must equip ourselves with new political and financial instruments.’ Ben Butters (Director for European Affairs at Eurochambres): ‘Reform is not an option, it’s an obligation.’ Mario Sepi: ‘What is happening to our values when somebody retires from a bank at the age of 70 with a 160 meuro bonus? What can you do with 160 meuro at the age of 70? This is not a value, it’s a disvalue.’