The current mandate of the EESC is almost at an end; next week will mark the last Bureau meeting and the last Plenary Session. This week and last week saw a flurry of ultimate Section meetings, the last meeting of the Consultative Committee on Industrial Change and the last meetings of the Budget and Communication Groups. As my waistline can faithfully attest, I tried to get to all of the farewell bashes. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of the outgoing chairpersons (not all of them are returning) and I shall particularly miss the two outgoing Vice-Presidents, Seppo Kallio (responsible for budgetary matters) and Irini Pari (in the picture, responsible for communication). Together, they have achieved a huge amount, from wholesale reform of the Committee’s budgetary mechanisms and procedures through to major advances in terms of publication and web policy and – Irini’s favourite – involving school students in simulations. I shall miss them, but I am also much looking forward to working with their successors. This turnover of officeholders is in the very nature of the Committee, but for me, as a still relatively new Secretary General, it is a first, bitter-sweet experience.