2024 will be a pivotal year for Europe, as the geopolitical environment is getting increasingly unstable and dangerous.

Two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a major war continues to rage on the continent and military experts are warning about the possibility of Russian aggression against other European states within this decade. At the same time, the Hamas terror attack of 7 October has kicked off another major crisis in the Middle East that carries the risk of a dramatic escalation in Europe’s southern neighbourhood.

Faced with these challenges, European countries have been increasing their defence spending. The EU is reinforcing its defence industrial toolbox, while NATO is adapting its deterrence and defence posture. Given the growing security threats on the one hand, and uncertainties about the outcome of the forthcoming US elections on the other, it is now essential that Europeans intensify these efforts and bring their cooperation to an unprecedented level. The European elections, the start of a new Commission mandate and the preparation of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework will mark important milestones on this path.

Against this background, European Business Summits and the Aerospace, Security and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) organised the 7th European Defence and Security Summit, which took place in Brussels on 17 April 2024. The aim of this conference was to bring together European leaders and practitioners from across national governments, EU institutions, NATO, industry, and armed forces to discuss how Europe can meet today’s and tomorrow’s security challenges.