Mario shows us how to build a proper wall against free kicks

I have just returned from the Palais d’Egmont and an all day conference organised jointly by the Belgian Central Economic Council, the Belgian National Labour Council and the European Economic and Social Committee, with support from the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A long and rich and thought-provoking agenda saw speeches from, inter alia, Steven Vanackere, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ms Joëlle Milquet, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities, Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, Lorenzo Codogno, President of the EU’s Economic Policy Committee and Ms Maria Joao Rodrigues, aka ‘Mme Lisbon Strategy’. The central theme and conclusion, strongly evident in all of the contributions and all of the discussions, was that the Europe 2020 strategy will only be a proper success if stakeholders feel ownership of the strategy and therefore work to make it a success. Coda: coming back to the office after a week camped out in meetings of various sorts, I found two neat piles of files to read and sign – the traditional penance! Still, it has been a fantastic week, rich in very positive activities and mixed emotions. In three days the 2006-2010 mandate will be formally over, and then we must work hard to make the next mandate a glittering success. (In the picture: Robert Tollet, President of the CEC, Maros Sefcovic, Mario Sepi, Paul Windey, President of the NLC, and yours truly.)