In the public debate organized by the Robert Schuman Foundation and the Wilfried Martens Centre, speakers included: Alain Lamassoure (MEP-EPP), Markus Schulte (Cabinet of Commissioner G.H.Oettinger) and Eva Palackova (political adviser, EPP). Eric Maurice (Schuman Foundation.) and Tomi Huhtanen and Dimitar Lilkov (Martens Centre.) performed the role of moderators.
Contrary to the position adopted by the European Parliament on 14.11.2018 in its Interim Report on the MFF 2021-2027(Rapporteurs Ms Thomas and Mr Olbrycht) , which criticized proposed cuts to cohesion policy and CAP and elaborated a more ambitious MFF proposal which would require a budget of 1.3% of the European GNI,Mr Lamassoure expressed his agreement with the Commission's far less ambitious proposal for the next MFF. Furthermore, he expressed his disagreementwith the existence of multi-year budgets and the plans to approve the next MFF before the European elections.
In continuation, Mr Schulte summarized important parts of the Commission's proposals and provided further justification for it. Mrs Palackova for her part presented some general considerations on the values and priorities of the EPP. Subsequently, the EESC member, and rapporteur for its opinion on the MFF, Mr Javier Doz Orrit, summarized the content of the opinion and underlined the common and cross-cutting support for a more ambitious MFF with more own resources, and without cuts in cohesion and CAP, that had been expressed from not just a substantial majority of the European Parliament members (including a majority of members of the EPP Group ), but also from organized European civil society (reflected in the EESC's position) and the Committee of the Regions.
The EESC rapporteur added that he was surprised that these ideas had not been expressed by any of the previous speakers, a point which was later reiterated by a member of the Youth of the European People's Party (YEPP).