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CIFE lunchtime debates - European topical debates

An initiative of the office of CIFE in Brussels and of the group of CIFE Alumni in Brussels


The CIFE office in Brussels regularly organises lunchtime debates on the major questions that are at the centre of interest concerning the European Union. Five times a year, the “Midis du CIFE” provide an opportunity for notable actors and observers of the European integration process to comment and debate with the audience on topics concerning the internal and external policies of the European Union. The success of these meetings, which take place at the University Foundation in Brussels, is not for the least part due to the active participation of the public. Their guests mainly come from the European institutions, from universities, business, foundations, civil society organisations, and the press. Numerous former students of the CIFE programmes also take part in these events which they regard as career long learning opportunities.


2022 CIFE Lunchtime Debates



52nd CIFE Lunchtime Debate - The EU Strategy for Strengthening the European Dimension in Higher Education and Research

Tuesday 15 November 2022
Education Series

Guest speaker:  Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Chaired by Herman Van Rompuy, President of CIFE, President Emeritus of the European Council.



  2021 CIFE Lunchtime Debates



51st CIFE Lunchtime Debate - The EU's relations with its Southern neighbourhood

Tuesday 30 November 2021
EuroMed Series

Guest speaker:  Salima YENBOU, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Committee on Culture and Education, and of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean
Location:  University Foundation, Brussels



The 50th CIFE Lunchtime Debate is deferred to a later date...


50th CIFE Lunchtime Debate
A Successful European Strategy for Hydrogen Needs to be Part of a Global Roll-out of Hydrogen

Energy Transition Series
Guest speakerHildegard BENTELE,  Member of the European Parliament, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy – Rapporteur for opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on a European strategy for hydrogen
Date:  Monday 15 November, from 13:00 to 14:30
Location:  University Foundation, Brussels

Introduction in English. Debate in English and French                          Deferred




Special CIFE Lunchtime Debate - 
Major European Issues

Thursday 22 April 2021
in English and French,
without interpretation
CIFE Lunchtime Debate Online - Via ZOOM
Guest speaker: 

Jean-Claude Juncker, Former President of the European Commission, Honorary President of CIFE





48th CIFE Lunchtime Debate - 
The EU after the German Constitutional Court's ECB Ruling - What's next?

Friday 19 june 2020
CIFE Lunchtime Debate Online - Via ZOOM
Guest speakers :

Jacques Le Cacheux, Professor of Economics at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA) and also teaches at Sciences Po (Paris), Ecole nationale des Ponts, Paris I-Sorbonne et Chaussées, Stanford University in Paris
Ingolf Pernice, Professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he has the chair for public law, international and European law
Wolfgang Wessels, Jean Monnet Chairholder, Centre for Turkey and European Union Studies, University of Cologne. and visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges (Belgium) and Natolin (Poland)



Le Cacheux, Pernice and Wessels

The recent ECB-ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court struck like a lightning into the European political debate. The highest court of the largest EU member state challenges not only the ECB, but also the European Court of Justice, which it accuses of exceeding its competence. How will the clash between the German court and the European Court of Justice go on? How will the Commission react to this unprecedented provocation? Is the supremacy of EU law in danger? Will the ECB be able to continue exercising its mandate as an independent authority on monetary policy? Is the recent Franco-German proposition for a 500 billion recovery fund a response to the ruling? 




47th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Thursday 5 March 2020
Topic: Education Series
The challenges of Education in today’s Europe - Education and the digital transformation

Guest speaker:
MEP, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, European Parliament




46th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 13 november 2019
Topic: Transition énergétique” Series

Quel financement pour réussir le Green Deal européen ?
Guest speaker:
Député au Parlement européen, membre de la commission des Budgets, co-fondateur du Pacte Finance-Climat*

See the video on Facebook 

*Le Pacte Finance-Climat est un projet lancé en décembre 2017 par Jean Jouzel (ancien Vice-président du groupe scientifique du GIEC), Pierre Larrouturou et plusieurs centaines de personnalités internationales signataires d’un Appel qui demande  solennellement aux chefs d’Etats et de gouvernements européens de mettre en œuvre au plus vite un Pacte Finance-Climat, qui assurerait pendant 30 ans des financements à la hauteur des enjeux pour financer la transition énergétique sur le territoire européen et mette la finance au service du climat et de l’emploi.




45th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 27 February 2019
TopicEducation Series
Education and Culture as key to inclusive and cohesive societies
Guest speaker:  Mrs. Themis CHRISTOPHIDOU,

Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission (DG EAC)
Introduction in English, debate in English & French




44th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 29 January 2019
Topic: EuroMed Series
How can Europe act in solidarity to respond to humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean?
Guest speaker: Claude MORAES
, MEP, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), European Parliament.
Claude Moraes, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, commenting on the continued humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, regretted that there is no common policy, no reform of the EU asylum and migration policy, no package. He asked the Romanian Presidency to take the opportunity of having QMV (qualified majority voting) under the Treaties. Faced with the concern of some participants on the impact of the rise of populist parties on the future EP elected in May 2019, he was quite optimistic: "Populists will not win" he said.




43rd CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 6 November 2018
Topic: Energy Transition at the heart of the European vision for a modern, sustainable and competitive economy

Guest speaker:  M. Dominique Ristori,
DG for Energy at the European Commission
First "CIFE Lunchtime Debate" in a new series on the Global Energy Transition
« Il est impératif de cesser de ‘pulvériser’ les efforts de recherche et d’investissement à travers l’Europe ! »




42nd CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 31 May 2018
Topic: Doing more with less: Shaping the future of Europe as a new and ambitious Union
Guest speaker: Martin Selmayr, 
Secretary-General of the European Commission
in the presence  of M. Herman Van Rompuy, President of CIFE – Minister of State, Emeritus President of the European Council.
In his speech, Martin Selmayr highlighted the challenges which the EU faces in order to become a "more ambitious Union":  Comfortable certainties like the transatlantic solidarity could no longer be taken for granted. The Secretary-General underlined that Europe must take its destiny in its own hands and enhance its cooperation in security and defense. He deplored that the United States had left the Iran nuclear deal, which was an important contribution to peace.




41st CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 6 December 2017
Topic: The Quest for Government 
Guest speaker: Andrew DUFF,
President of the Spinelli Group,
Visiting Fellow,
European Policy Centre – former MEP




40th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 22 November 2017
Topic: Parliamentary diplomacy in Euro-Mediterranean relations. Needs and opportunities

Guest speaker: Inés AYALA SENDER, 
Member of the European Parliament, 
Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union,
and member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean


     NB: 39th CIFE Lunchtime Debate: Canceled 


38th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 13 December 2016
Topic: After Brexit and Trump: Europe in Crisis and the World
Guest speaker: Mario Telò
, Professor of International Relations at ULB (Brussels) and LUISS (Rome), Member of the Royal Academy of Science of Belgium
 - Sergio Cantone, euronews
 - Jean-Pierre Stroobants, Le Monde
 - Luk Van Langenhove, Regional Integration Expert, VUB
Mario Telò has just published “L’Europe en crise et le monde”, Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles (collection UBlire), October 2016. Copies of the book will be on sale at the event and Prof. Telò will be happy to autograph them from 12:30 and at the end of the debate.




37th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 7 December 2016
Topic: EUROPE, OU LA CRISE ET LA LUTTE FINALES ! Démantèlement de la construction européenne ou avancée de l’intégration ?

Guest speaker: Michel THEYS,
Journaliste couvrant l’information européenne depuis 1978, 
Editorialiste à l’Agence Europe
et responsable du supplément « Bibliothèque européenne » du Bulletin quotidien Europe.




36th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Thursday 3 March 2016
Topic: THE EURO IN QUESTION(S) - Is it the ‘beginning of the end’ for Europe??
Guest speaker: Philippe MAYSTADT, 
President of the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE),  Former President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium
Find the article here EURACTIV  :
Philippe Maystadt has just published
« L’EURO en question(s) », Publisher : avant-propos, November 2015
"Le budget de la zone euro, une bonne idée qui stagne",
"Maystadt: Consensus quietly growing for eurozone budget"
Philippe Maystadt vient de publier « L’euro en question(s) », maison d’édition avant-propos, novembre 2015 -




35th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 8 December 2015
Topic: Can we overcome the global deadlock ??
Guest speaker: Riccardo PETRELLA,

Président de l’Institut européen de recherche sur la politique de l’eau, auteur de « Au nom de l’Humanité. L’audace mondiale »
Biographie de Riccardo Petrella
Ricardo Petrella (1941) vit en Belgique depuis 1975, après avoir vécu sept ans à Vienne où il a dirigé le Centre européen de coordination de recherche en sciences sociales (UNESCO). Il est professeur émérite de l'UCL. Pendant quinze ans, il a dirigé le programme FAST (Forecasting and Assessment in Science and Technology) à la Commission des Communautés européennes à Bruxelles. Il a reçu le titre de Docteur honoris causa de huit universités. Il a été le promoteur de ESST (Education on Society, Science and Technology), un pacte fédératif entre seize universités européennes. En 1992, il a fondé (avec João Carça) et présidé le Groupe de Lisbonne, auteur de l'ouvrage 'Limites à la compétitivité (publié en douze langues). En 1996, il a créé, avec Mario Soares, le Comité international pour un Contrat Mondial de l'Eau et, en 2001, avec João Caraça, Bruno Amoroso, Henri-Claude de Bettignies et Vittorio Capecchi, l'Université du Bien commun. En 2007, il a fondé l'IERPE (Institut européen de recherche sur la politique de l'eau) et, en 2012, a lancé, en Italie, l'initiative internationale Dichiariamo Illegale la Povertà.




34th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 2 December 2015
Topic:  2016: What Progress on European Defence?
Guest speaker: Michel BARNIER
Special Adviser on European Defense Policy to the President of the European Commission,
Former Vice-President of the European Commission
in cooperation with 




33rd CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 20 January 2015
Topic: The ‘Youth Guarantee’: urgently tackling youth unemployment?
Guest speaker: Michel LEBRUN
President of the EU Committee of the Regions
La « Garantie pour la jeunesse » : une urgence dans la lutte contre le chômage des jeunes
The ‘Youth Guarantee’: urgently tackling youth unemployment




32nd CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 10 December 2014
Topic:  Is the European Citizens’ Initiative really an efficient democratic instrument?
Guest Speakers: Anne-Marie PERRET
President of the Right2Water Citizens’ Committee,
former President of the European Federation of Public Service Unions
& Conny REUTER,Co-Chair of the Liaison-Group in the European Economic and Social Committee, Secretary General of Solidar




31st CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Monday 8 December 2014
Topic:   Européens, réveillez-vous !
Guest Speakers: Paul COLLOWALD
témoin et acteur de la construction européenne, qui vient de publier « J’ai vu naître l’Europe »,
Correspondant du quotidien français Libération auprès de l’Union européenne




30th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Tuesday 2 December 2014
Topic:  Towards a reindustrialization of Europe ?
Guest Speaker: Henri MALOSSE
President of the European Economic and Socail Committee (EESC)




29th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Wednesday 19 November 2014
Topic: The EU's Ukrainian question - A  geopolitical challenge to values, capacity and strategy
Guest Speaker: Pat COX,

Former President of the European Parliament,
former member of EP Observer mission to Ukraine with President Aleksander Kwasniewski (PL),
Board member Yalta European Strategy, Ukraine.
Report : J. Brovdij, Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels (Original source)




28th CIFE Lunchtime Debate

Thursday 9 October 2014
Topic:  Is Federalism the solution to Europe’s ‘Unity in Diversity’ ?
Guest Speaker: Enrique BARÓN CRESPO

Jean Monnet Chair,
University of Castilla-La Mancha,
Former President of the European Parliament
Enrique Barón Crespo has just published « La era del federalismo », RBA





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