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The Future of Europe’s defence, security and transatlantic relations



European young people care about the war in Ukraine. They feel the effects of the war, through the rising energy prices and inflation or the real threat to their own nations. 

Just over a year into Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Debating Europe, the citizen engagement and democracy unit of Friends of Europe, reached out to 100 young Europeans through the focus group series “The Future of Europe’s defence, security and transatlantic relations”.  

We gathered their opinions on the following questions:  

  • How has the war in Ukraine affected your life?  
  • How has this armed conflict and the war rhetoric across the continent changed your perception of European security and solidarity?  
  • How will the European Union’s (EU) relations with key players like Russia, the USA, and China develop in the future?  
  • What can the EU and NATO do to make our continent a safer place, if anything? 

This focus group series was conducted in May 2023 with a total of 102 participants (born between 1982 and 2005) from 27 different European (EU and beyond) countries (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain). 

The focus group series contributed to the study After the war: how to make Europe safe, written by Friends of Europe’s Senior Fellow Paul Taylor to explore how Europe should its defence, regardless of the final outcome of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The study was released at the Peace, Security and Defence Summit on 20 June 2023 amongst an audience of policy makers, journalists, researchers and senior politicians simultaneously in Vilnius and Brussels.  

Read the methodology and the citizen’s responses in the broader study available here.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s)only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.