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"When trust based on common objectives overcomes national egoism, then 'We make it fly'

Considered "Industry rising talent" by the French Usine Nouvelle magazine and an appointed ambassador of the diversity network "Balance for Business" at Airbus, Annelise is a role model in the historically male dominated defence sector. Describing herself as someone who finds herself regularly in a "traveler frenzy", Annelise is traveling the globe not only as part of business obligations but also for pleasure, the most recent countries being Uzbekistan, Guatemala and Myanmar. Having been with Airbus for almost a decade today, the second time GFYL participant also teaches classes on European Defence at Science Po - a topic "dear to my heart - the area where I truly believe that there is room for deepening European integration."

Annelise, can you tell us a short anecdote that best describes your attachment to Europe?

Passionate about European affairs, I decided that I wanted to work for Airbus before ending my studies as this is the company that embodies the European Project in its most concrete way possible: several countries teaming up bringing together some of their key industrial assets in order to become a global leader. After nearly 10 years in the company, I can say that in my work I have experienced nearly all positive and also negative aspects of European cooperation. In that context, one of my main learnings has been the following: When trust based on common objectives overcomes national egoism, then "We make it fly"!

Has the German-French friendship influenced you personally in any way?

My mother being a German teacher, I’ve first gotten in contact with the German culture very early in my life. That wasn’t necessarily helpful as consequently my relationship with the German language clearly deteriorated as part of my teenage crisis 😉 But sooner or later maturity reconciled me with Germany, and I made the very conscious decision to join the most Franco-German company of all when I decided to go and work for Airbus! And I still have no regret about it 🙂

What are your hopes for the German-French friendship for 2018 and beyond?

In the context of Brexit, I wish that Germany takes its full responsibility as a European leader in the field of defence, together with France. The current status of threats and alliances compels Europe to be prepared to act much more than in the past to ensure greater security. France and Germany thus urgently need to act together as real partners to push for new initiatives for a more capable and active Europe in the military field.

Why is it important that initiatives such as GFYL exist?

Now that the reconciliation period between Germany and France is over, there are too few initiatives trying to bond France and Germany. As a consequence, the Franco-German relationship is more a political concept than anything else: Not enough of us still learn German or French in school, our media does not go deep enough to cover the news of our neighbour etc... Because the world is now all global and digital, we tend to overlook what is just next to us! Initiatives like GFYL are a great opportunity to really "experience" the Franco-German relationship, to overcome prejudice and to attract the interest of more people with regard to "the other side of the Rhein river"!


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