As the debate on the Multiannual Financial Framework and EU Cohesion Policy in 2021-2027 intensifies, Professor John Bachtler provided a critical perspective on the reforms at two recent events in Brussels. At the European Political Dialogue about the future of Cohesion Policy, hosted by the Lower Saxony Representation in Brussels on 25 September 2018, John joined a panel with Minister Birgit Honé, DG Regio Director Eric von Breska and EP REGI Rapporteur Constanze Krehl to provide an assessment of the Commission’s proposals for Cohesion Policy. John’s presentation drew from recent work under the EoRPA research programme to highlight the distinctive dynamics of the current negotiations and highlighted both strengths and weaknesses of the reform proposals, notably the lack of a clear mission for Cohesion Policy, the weak focus on performance, operational implications, and the potential dilution of the coherence of Cohesion Policy. The following day, on 26th September 2018, John also spoke at an EPP Hearing on Cohesion Policy, in a session ‘Let the stars shine – improving the visibility of Cohesion Policy’. He presented the results of the Horizon 2020 COHESIFY project on Cohesion Policy and European Identification, which provides evidence of the positive impact of EU spending on citizens’ identification with the EU but also has important lessons about improving the communication of Cohesion Policy in both the current and next periods.