I really did earn my salt today. I spent all morning in the Budget Group. The main point on the agenda, from my point of view, was a proposal about how the annual budget drafting process should ideally look for the 2011 budget. I know; it sounds a long way off but, for the EU institutions, the planning is already under way. In the afternoon I co-chaired a meeting together with my Committee of the Regions counterpart, Gerhard Stahl, designed to provide some strategic administrative overview and input to our so-called ‘joint services’ (including translation, IT and logistics). From there, I dashed to the Council’s Budget Committee, where I explained and defended a request for a budgetary transfer (successfully, I should add!). As usual, the gaps in between these formal meetings were soon filled in by informal meetings of various kinds. Still, if I’d had my senior staff in place I would only have attended one of the three formal meetings – the one with Gerhard Stahl. The recruitment process for the new directors is taking a long time, but I am already imagining how relieved I will feel to be able to concentrate on one job instead of three.