Cillian Lohan, EESC Vice-President for Communication

I often think if things are going too easy then I am not challenging myself enough. And yet our objective when creating functioning systems is to ensure that things do go easy – work effectively and function smoothly. The distinction I draw is that processes should be easy, and content should be challenging.

I have always liked to find a way to push my work at the EESC until it becomes challenging, and then to find that there, at that point, is where the valuable solutions can be determined.

The processes and ways of working, when I first became a member, were confusing to me – from finding the right meeting room, to knowing when to push the button to take the floor.

For anyone starting a new term of office, that can take a few meetings to get used to. Repetition feeds familiarity. And, of course, the coffee breaks and mingling in the corridors is an invaluable source of knowledge and information on how things work!

With all of those usual means of building our comfortableness with new surroundings taken away, it has been a different start to the term. It's not even clear who has returned and whose face is no longer present. It's not easy for new members to feel their way into how the EESC functions and to understand the dynamics.

We have realised that we can function from a distance. But equally we have come to value the added advantage of face to face. I want to pay credit to the technical staff at our Committee. They have been thrown into the spotlight as critical workers in facilitating our work continuing.

They have made the process run smoothly and effectively and eased us all into this new way of working.

I like to think that working remotely, connecting via our home offices or kitchens or living rooms has brought us closer together somehow. Reminded us that we are all just people who are working in this space trying to do our best.

I know that when we all fill the rooms of JDE again that we will do so with a new appreciation, and hopefully a greater empathy for each other, as we strive to bring valuable content to the table at an EU level.