Control of the European Economic and Social Committee is being returned where it belongs – to the hands of the French. The EESC, which was modelled in 1957 on a French institution, met this week (17-18 April) to elect as its new president a Frenchman, Henri Malosse, who has been a member of the EESC since 1995, latterly as head of the employers’ group. He has the dubious distinction of having co-authored a book with Edith Cresson, on the subject of doing business with the European Union (her expertise in this field brought down the Santer Commission). Malosse is expected to make more waves than his predecessor, Staffan Nilsson, and is bringing in an outsider to head his private office, Rudy Aernoudt. The appointment makes a curious progression for the 50-year-old Belgian, who has already headed private offices in the Walloon, Flemish and Belgian federal governments. He headed the private office of Serge Kubla, a Walloon liberal who was minister of the economy for the Walloon region, then headed the private office of Fientje Moerman, a Flemish liberal (sometime spokeswoman for the liberals in the European Parliament) who was minister of the economy first in the Belgian federal government (2003-04), then in the Flemish regional government (2004-07). She resigned from that post because of criticism from the Flemish ombudsman following a complaint by Aernoudt over the awarding of a contract. He said at the time that auditors should be given greater access to private offices. Malosse will have taken note.