As voter turnout for the upcoming elections in the European Parliament is expected to be quite low, the sense is that the presence of populist political parties will increase. For pro-EU parties, the challenge is how to confront this populist tendency, noted Young Leader Daniela Ott, COO, Kering Luxury Division, and CEO of Tomas Maier Brand. “Populist politicians attract voters because they keep their message clear and simple,” she said. “At the end of the day, mainstream parties need to do the same.”
Building up the EU narrative is the key to keeping public interest strong, indicated Tomáš Sedláček, Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at CSOB, and Author. “There is much self-doubt in the EU, especially since the economic crisis” he said. “The narrative is that the EU is more than the sum of its economies. The EU is a role model for the rest of the world in terms of fundamental values. Values that we do not even notice in the way that outsiders do.”
Politics in Europe, particularly on the European level, need to work to get the message out through a greater recognition and use of grassroots politics. The spread of social media and technological advances in Europe can be used to much greater effect to reach and interact with constituents on many levels, the participants agreed.
While online and information technology are improving campaigns and community interaction, noted young leader Guillaume Liegey, Co-founder, Liegey Muller Pons, there is a growing awareness of the need to knock on doors and speak face-to-face with constituents. “When humans discuss politics with other humans, it is very effective at increasing voter turnout and community participation in the democratic process,” he said.
The European Young Leaders ’40 under 40’ programme, launched in 2011 and led by the think-tanks EuropaNova and Friends of Europe, aims to promote a European identity by engaging 40 of the European Union’s brightest minds in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. Each year, forty young leaders from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds and various European nationalities are carefully selected to take part in a series of bi-annual 3-day meetings.
Despite the European Parliament’s increasing importance and influence in EU policy-making, elections to the EU’s only democratically-elected body generates little public interest. Voter turn-out – especially among young people and women – is expected to be low, reflecting public disenchantment with the EU. Those who do vote are widely expected to favour populist and extremist parties.
- What could we do to inject more excitement into European election campaigns?
- Are European political parties developing new strategies to reach out to voters, especially young voters?
- How should the toxic anti-European and extremist narrative of populist parties be countered?
President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, former co-president of the European Green Party, former member of the European Parliament and Trustee of Friends of Europe
Researcher and consultant at Counterpoint on the Recapturing Europe's Reluctant Radicals project
Young Leader contribution by
Trainer and Advisor; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Campaigner and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
The EU’s top institutions will be in new hands by the end of 2014 as the Presidents of the European Parliament, theEuropean Council and the European Commission as well as all European Commissioners leave their posts.
- Given Europe’s growing economic, social and foreign policy and security challenges, what would be the idealprofile of the new EU leaders?
- With Brussels teeming with diplomats, parliamentarians, lobbyists, advocates and journalists, who wields realpower in the complex EU decision–making machinery and how to improve accountability, transparency andefficiency?
- Having survived without a government for 589 days while assuming the Presidency of the European Union,should Belgium be considered a special case, a model or a counter-model for its 27 EU partners?
Former Member of the European Parliament, former Bulgaria Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister
Chief Macroeconomic Strategist, Ceskoslovenská Obchodni Banka (CSOB) and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Young Leader contribution by
Professor of Law at Teramo University and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Founder, Next Generation Leaders of Slovakia and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
European citizens today have the capacity and the tools to organise themselves in order to trigger change. The power of those who previously pulled the strings of Europe – governments, EU institutions, corporate leaders, etc. – is being challenged.
- Is the role of the “usual suspects” shifting from decision-making to empowering people and entrepreneurs to bring about change and progress?
- Is the success of crowd-funding a measure of Europeans’ empowerment?
- What role for public-private partnerships to regenerate European growth?
Director, Outreach and Engagement
Head of EU Advocacy Office, Oxfam International
Young Leader contributions by
Irish Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel, 2014 European Young Leader
CEO of eXplain and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Given the compelling necessity to build a common European future, the “40 UNDER 40” will take part in 4 workshops to identify key questions and come up with original recommendations to be implemented on a European level.
Workshop n°1: European values: The Hungarian case study
Executive Director, European Liberties Platform (ELP), 2013 European Young Leader
Managing Director United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Workshop n°2: Ukraine, Turkey, Serbia: What is the future of countries on the fringes of the EU?
Jens Ole Bach Hansen
Counsellor, Africa and development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Head of the Geo-Economics Programme at the German Council on Foreign Relations and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Workshop n°3: Banking Union and the new financial framework: How serious are we?
The late Henrik Enderlein
Founding Director of the Jacques Delors Institute and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Head of Corporate Governance and Internal Policies at the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Presentation of workshop outcomes and open discussion with MEPs who are members of the Committees in charge of the topics discussed in the workshops.
Former member of the European Parliament
Director, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)tional
Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Senior Vice President, Member of the European Management Team, NYSE Euronext
The energy landscape outside Europe has been radically reshaped by the U.S. shale gas and oil boom, which has reduced the country’s reliance on fossil fuel imports, driven down its energy prices, helped curb CO2 emissions, created hundreds of thousands of jobs and impacted their strategic role in the Middle East in particular.
- Is such a U.S.-style shale gas revolution possible in Europe?
- Why is Europe so divided over shale gas? Can the economic benefits outweigh the environmental risks?
- How can Europe forge a common energy policy when EU member states pursue their national energy interests in an uncoordinated way?
Director for Energy Policy Coordination at the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy
Young Leader contributions by
French Dean, ParisTech Shanghai JiaoTong and Vice President of EuropaNova
President, European Environmental Initiative and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
The euro crisis has prompted one of the most intense debates about the viability of the European project in its history, but many of the contributions to that debate have amounted to little more than immediate crisis management. Alongside deeper reflection processes like the inter-institutional European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) or the EP’s Spinelli Group, a consortium of 11 European foundations has launched a project to promote a Europe-wide reform debate, A New Pact for Europe. Its goal is to develop realistic reform proposals to shore up an EU suffering from socio-economic and political turbulence and growing threat of global marginalisation, and feed these ideas to the new EU leadership that takes office in May 2014. The discussion will be centred on possible scenarios for European integration and their consequences.
Author, former member of the European Parliament and former president of the Union of European Federalists and the Spinelli Group
Janis A. Emmanouilidis
Member of the Reflection group on the New Pact for Europe
Young Leader contributions by
Political blogger and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe, the action-oriented think tank, in 1999. As Secretary General, Geert mainly deals with the strategic development of Friends of Europe, he coordinates the work of the high-level Boards involved in the governance of the organisation and chairs the Strategic Leadership meetings. He oversees both the financial health and the successful running of the organisation and its flagship initiatives, and focuses on the expansion and the activation of Friends of Europe’s vast network of trustees, European young leaders and other senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts and partners throughout the world.
Geert also is a founding member of the Executive Board of the Africa-Europe Foundation, launched in 2020, and of TownHall Europe (the Davignon Centre for New Leadership), launched in 2019.
Geert headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years, and managed the revival of one of Belgium’s finest architectural examples of Art Nouveau, after creating La Maison de l’Europe in the prestigious 100-year-old Bibliothèque Solvay.
At the outset of his career, Geert worked for a few years in ECHO at the European Commission, as deputy in the newly set-up Information and communications unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.
He also worked for 2 music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.
Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician who previously served as the Co-President of the European Green Party. Prior to that, during her time as Member of the European Parliament, she was Co-Chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. She also served for ten years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary-General of the Young European Federalists. In 2010, she co-founded the European Alliance to Save Energy, an organisation which aims to promote and advocate energy savings and a new energy model.
Jamila is a leading innovator in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She currently works as an independent strategic consultant and sits on the supervisory board of Stichting JES Rijnland, an organisation which promotes the rights of children and young people in education and society. Jamila previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the the Max van der Stoel Foundation, where she worked with political parties and politicians in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on a range of topics, including diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. She is the former Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations and a former member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Social Democratic Party of the Netherlands (PVDA). Jamila is also an alumna of Israel’s future European leaders programme and the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Michel is Professor of Industrial Relations and Labour Law at the Law Faculty of Teramo University, Professor at the Italian National School of Government and Visiting Professor of Labour Law at the Law Faculty of L.U.I.S.S. Guido Carli University in Rome. Michel was appointed Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Policy by Prime Minister Mario Monti in November 2011, a position he held until Spring 2013. He previously served as Legal Advisor to the Minister for Public Administration and Innovation and to the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, and has represented Italy in the Board of Directors of Eurofound. He is a registered barrister at the Court of Rome, and in 2009 he and his brother founded the law firm Martone & Martone. Michel is a member of various think tanks, an editor for newspapers and specialised journals on labour and economic issues, and the author of many publications on labour law.
In 2009, Ivana founded the NGO Next Generation Leaders of Slovakia (NGLS), which is a platform and movement dedicated to developing leadership skills, inspiring action and connecting influential Slovakian people. Ivana previously worked in Dubai, as a wealth management banker and sales executive. Returning to Slovakia in 2007, she conducted management consulting for multinational banks and governments and developed a strong interest in the power of new social media platforms to transform the worlds of work and innovation. Since its inception, the NGLS programme has reached hundreds of young Slovaks. Her personal story was featured in two books. She has been a keynote speaker at several prestigious events and featured as an “opinion leader” in many articles. Ivana hold a MBA in Strategic Management from Comenius University in Bratislava.
Adam is the Director of Outreach and Engagement at Friends of Europe. He is responsible for the online citizen-driven discussion platform Debating Europe, which he co-founded in 2011. He has extensive experience in digital media start-ups, including the launch of the Brussels-based newswire service EUPOLITIX.com, which he merged into The Parliament Magazine, where he was the Managing Director. Adam speaks fluent English and Italian.
Malcolm is an Irish politician for the centrist Fianna Fáil party and currently serves as a Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel of the Irish Parliament. Malcolm formerly served as a member of the lower house for the Wexford constituency from 2019 to 2020, prior to which he was a member of Wexford Country County Council from 2009 to 2019 and Mayor of Gorey. Additionally, Malcolm was the Head of Communications and Public Affairs with the Higher Education Authority, the statutory agency in Ireland that allocates public funding to higher education and advises government on higher education and research policy. Having worked for various lobbying and representative organisations throughout his career, Malcolm was also the first commercial manager with myhome.ie, Ireland’s most successful property website. Outside of his professional career, Malcolm has completed over 30 marathons.
Guillaume is an expert in electoral strategy. He began his career in Beijing before joining the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. for 4 years in France and in the United States. In 2012, he joined the French presidential campaign team of François Hollande, in which he oversaw the field campaign strategy to reach out to 5 million households, led the rollout of the campaign in 30 departments and coordinated the communication strategy. He then co-founded a political strategy firm Liegey Muller Pons to help other European political parties improve the way they run their election campaigns and engage with citizens before and after the polls. Guillaume is the co-author of Porte-à-porte, Reconquérir la démocratie sur le terrain (2013). He is also a lecturer at Sciences Po Paris, where he teaches a course on electoral campaigns. Guillaume is a graduate of HEC and Harvard, holding a Master in Public Administration and a MSc in Management.
Balázs is a Hungarian lawyer and a human rights activist. In 1997 he joined the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the country’s leading civil liberties watchdog organisation, and after holding various positions he served as the HCLU Executive Director from 2004 to 2012. Since early 2013, he is Director of the European Civil Liberties Project at the Open Society Foundations. He is a founding member of many Hungarian NGOs, and serves on the board of the Common Sense for Drug Policy Foundation and the Melymosoly Foundation. He focuses on civil liberties, human rights, communication and NGO management issues. Balázs received his law degree in 1998 from ELTE University Budapest and is a 2003-2004 Columbia University/Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) Fellow.
Before becoming Executive Director of UNICEF Hungary in 2017, Antonia was a well-known Hungarian journalist, television presenter, author and documentary filmmaker. She has interviewed just about every EU politician that visited Hungary in recent years. She hosted Hungary’s main evening current affairs programme from 2007 to 2011, but was forced to leave the national public broadcaster MTV, along with thousands of colleagues after the new government “reorganised” public broadcasting and has been working at ATV, an independent news channel ever since. Antonia has participated in charitable projects and literacy campaigns aimed at helping the Roma population. For the last few years she has also been asked to head a Hungarian foundation recognising and rewarding journalistic achievements and organising events and workshops for media professionals. She is an English Literature graduate from ELTE University in Budapest.
Jens is Counsellor at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to his current role, He was posted at the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations in New York, in charge of Danish relations and strategic interventions with the UN Development System. Having worked and studied in the United States, France, Palestine, Israel, Denmark and Jordan, Jens Ole defines himself as “a dedicated internationalist and multi-lateralist”. Following 10 years of experience in international relations, he is now focused on the changing international architecture and the role of the United Nations in addressing global challenges. Jens Ole is a graduate in International affairs from the dual degree programme between Columbia University and Sciences Po, Paris and a BA in Public administration from Roskilde University.
Shahin is Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. He is also affiliated with the European Institute of the London School of Economics and is a member of the euro50 group, a group of senior current and former European policymakers in Europe. Prior to this Shahin was a Senior Economist at Soros Fund Management and he was also the Economic Advisor to the French Economy Minister until April 2015. Shahin has also been the Economic Advisor to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. In this capacity, he worked in particular on issues pertaining to European economic policy, the architecture of the euro area and the consequences of the economic and financial crisis.
Henrik was a Professor of Political Economy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. His research focused on economic policymaking, European monetary integration, fiscal federalism, financial markets and financial crises. In 2003, Henrik was awarded the Max Planck Society’s Otto-Hahn Medal for outstanding achievements by young scientists and from 2006 to 2007, he was Fulbright Distinguished Chair at Duke University’s Political Science Department. Henrik also spent a year as a Pierre Keller Visiting Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and the Weatherhead Center of International Affairs. He prepared his PhD in Political Science at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne and held degrees from Sciences Po, Paris, the University of Bremen and Columbia University.
Henrik left us too soon on 28 May 2021.
Florian is Head of the corporate governance and internal policies division at the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), where he is responsible for the preparation of decisions and meetings of the Board of Governors (eurozone finance ministers), Board of Directors and Board of Auditors. He has worked in economic and financial affairs in the areas of central banking and monetary policy in various capacities including at the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Central Bank (ECB). He has a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, as well as a Master’s in Advanced European Studies from the University of Vienna.
An established and experienced diplomat, Ana Gomes has cemented a reputation as a strident supporter and defender of democracy, human rights, social justice and the rule of law. She has previously been involved in the EU Middle East Peace Process and has led several EU election observation missions in Africa and South-East Asia. Gomes is also a vocal critic of the maladministration of EU law by multinational corporations to minimise tax costs and the negative impact this has on European citizens, governance and society.
With a focus on foreign affairs, human rights, justice and home affairs, and civil liberties, Kati Piri’s work in the European Parliament extends also to her role as standing rapporteur on Turkey’s accession process. Prior to joining the Parliament, Piri worked as a programme manager for the South Caucasus and Moldova at the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and as a political advisor in the European Parliament where she provided expertise on foreign relations with a particular focus on the Caucasus.
Paula Pinho is responsible for energy policy coordination and notably for strategy, planning and legal questions at the European Commission. Previously, she served as a member of cabinet for Günther Oettinger, both in his capacity as EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and during his mandate as EU Commissioner for Energy. Recently, Pinho coordinated the preparation and adoption of the ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package and represented the Commission in the negotiations of the Proposal for a Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union. In her current role, Paula is overseeing the coordination of the assessment of the National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).
Lavinia is President of the European Ecologist Association and television anchor on a Romanian political critique show. Formerly, she was Vice-President of the National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR). Prior to this she was President of the National Initiative Party (PIN). Before launching her political career she worked in the film and media sector. Lavinia is an active supporter of ecology and was the Director of the “EcoFest Manifesto for Earth Health” Festival, the first European tour representing the Romanian ecologist movement. In 2007 Lavinia was a key figure in the “Romanian’s Guide in the European Union” promotional campaign. In 2011 Lavinia received the Woman of the Year award in the Politicians category at the Romanian Women of Success Gala. Lavinia attended the Arts and Theatre Academy of Targu Mures and holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Bucharest
Philippe is a leading Belgian philosopher and one of the world’s most outspoken advocates of the universal basic income concept. He is also a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, which links academics and activists interested in the idea of a universal basic income. In addition, Philippe sits on the editorial boards of various international journals, has held numerous professor positions in prestigious universities across the world, and has (co-)authored a dozen books, including “Basic income: A radical proposal for a free society and a sane economy”.
Jon is one the best-known political bloggers and commentators on all things EU politics and Brexit. His commentary on his blog (jonworth.eu) and Twitter account (@jonworth) are well known in Brussels and EU circles. His work around Brexit and especially his famous Brexit diagrams have been featured in international media, including The New York Times and ARD. Jon is a Visiting Lecturer on politics and online communication at the College of Europe in Bruges. He also leads workshops at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the University of Maastricht and the Italian School of Public Administration in Rome. The Founder of Trains for Europe, a campaign that demands the European Union take action on the issues surrounding long distance rail travel in Europe, Jon is an experienced campaigner, having previously organised a number of online campaigns for United Kingdom politicians and the Atheist Bus Campaign.
- By Jamie Shea
- Area of Expertise
- By Jean-Luc Lemercier
- Policy Briefing
- Area of Expertise
- Digital & Data Governance