We are holidaying for a few days in a spectacularly beautiful part of Northern Italy. As the photograph shows, even walking the dog this afternoon treated us to wonderful views out over the Lago di Como and the beginnings of the Valtellina. An important year lies ahead, with Presidential elections in France (April/May) and the US (November), the Rio+20 UN Conference on sustainable development in June and a new Treaty to be negotiated and signed for the eurozone (March?). Still closer to home, the EESC’s President, Staffan Nilsson, will begin the second half of his mandate in February. There is still much to be done. But when I am up in the mountains, following ancient paths and gazing down over ancient settlements, I get a sense of timelessness.