Defence, security and sustainability

Global climate and energy transition targets are ambitious. In order to have the best chance of achieving them our societies need to be resilient, peaceful and stable. 

This panel brought together policymakers, industry leaders and think tankers to discuss the need for robust European defence and security – and why this is a prerequisite if we hope to achieve our sustainability targets. 

Watch the Airbus Summit replay here!

During this panel, Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn, policymakers and key industry leaders examined how to reinforce Europe’s strategic autonomy in an increasingly unstable world, and how a balance of security and sustainability can deliver a successful energy transition.

We provided an overview of the EU’s Strategic Compass and how a united Europe can better mitigate security risks, prevent conflicts and sustain peace.

We also explored how the European defence and security sector can support these ambitions through military mobility, strategic airlift, satellite imagery and cyber protection.

Finally, we explained how an integrated, effective and coherent European Union can support the community transformation needed to meet our climate and energy objectives.



  • In order to focus on the pressing issue of sustainability we must have security. Sustainable development cannot exist without peace and stability, or put another way, climate change is unlikely to be a high priority when you’re fighting a war!
  • For too long, defence has been seen as being a ‘non-sustainable’ industry. But the war in Ukraine has led to a different lens being cast over defence. Perceptions and public support for the armed forces within Germany, for example, have improved significantly over the last 12 months, and the importance of defence has been ‘re-recognised’ across Europe.
  • The EU has successfully used the European Peace Facility to buy the equipment and replenish stocks required for Ukraine, and while the investment in Ukraine has been substantial, it still only represents a fraction of the EU’s total defence budget.
  • European sovereignty and risk management also rely on not having to unilaterally depend on one country or technology. This was demonstrated by the supply chain disruption that resulted from the pandemic, and underscored by the present situation in Europe. A diversified supply chain as well as duplicate or native technologies allows countries to reduce their dependency on other nations. 
  • The lesson from Ukraine is that strength is key and perceived weakness can provoke aggression. It has also demonstrated the important role that satellite imagery can play, and how present-day battlegrounds can stretch from the deepest ocean to the frontiers of space.



Ian Bond

Ian Bond


Director Foreign Policy

Camille Grand

Camille Grand


Distinguished Policy Fellow

Siemtje Möller

Siemtje Möller


Parliamentary State Secretary


Michael Schoellhorn


Chief Executive Officer

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