About

Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

We’ve learned time and again that the challenges of the 21st century and of our ever complex world, cannot be addressed using the rulebooks of the past. The world is screaming for a new type of leadership and a renewed social contract in which the private sector, local and multilateral institutions, a citizens can collaborate and be the drivers of change.
Today’s leaders may look back in time for inspiration, but they must lead with innovation.
The European Young Leaders represent an alternative infrastructure of leadership, a new generation of leaders able to inspire action and generate change. Their passion, their diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and their innovative thinking together create the right formula for generating fresh ideas to build a more forward-thinking Europe.
Our European leaders provide alternative perspectives from outside the institutional and political frameworks to EU decisionmakers writing the rule book.
The European Young Leaders also play the essential role of helping to reconnect people with and rebuild trust in politics by engaging a wider community around key EU policy issues that need a whole economy whole society approach to progress fast.
They are scientists, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, astronomers. They are citizens and their thinking is not bound by multilateral or frameworks, or burocracy.

They help take Europe out of Brussels, in their own countries and cities. They are facilitating citizens’ participation in the creation of a more equal, innovative and inclusive Europe and help build a European identity.

The programme in the next years will take a new localism lens, bringing together these thinkers and leaders to act on some of the key issues affecting Europe’s future: the green and digital transformation, strengthening of our democracy, relations with our neighbours, increasing power sharing, and building a more gender and diverse Europe.

Succeeding in these policies together and getting more citizens engaged in European elections will be our litmus test.


Tune in to the EYLs on Friends of Europe’s Leading Views podcast

Joss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?

Leading view

Joss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?

Joss Garman

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Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Leading view

Negar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media

Negar Mortazavi

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Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Leading view

Una Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change

Una Mullally

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Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Martijn Arets
Martijn Arets

International expert and thinker in the field of emergence and development of the collaborative economy and 2013 European Young Leader

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Martijn is an international expert and thinker in the field of emergence and development of the collaborative economy: sharing economy, gig economy, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. He spoke with over 500 representatives from platforms, government, trade unions and corporate organizations in 16 countries to explore the conditions under which platforms can contribute to a more inclusive society. As a bridge builder and independent professional outsider, he uses these insights and this network to get stakeholders together to address relevant issues in a constructive way. Martijn shares his knowledge in his blogs, books, as an advisor and keynote speaker. His background is in marketing and branding, and he has written the books ‘Brand Expedition, a journey visiting Europe’s most inspiring brands’,’Crowdfunding, beyond the hype’ and ‘Crowdfunding for Dummies’

Cristina Elena Batlan
Cristina Elena Batlan

Founder and Creative Director at Musette and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Cristina is Founder, CEO and Head of Design at Musette, one of the leading fashion accessory companies in Romania. The brand is present all over the world, with stores in Paris, New York, Luxembourg, Beirut, Budapest, Bulgaria and Israel. In 2004, Cristina was named one of Romania’s “Top Successful Women” and obtained the Oskar Capital award in the “Promising Entrepreneur of the Year” category. In 2005 she launched a new brand, Cristhelen B, exclusive property of Musette. In 2011, she received the prestigious Entrepreneurship Prize at the Business Woman Gala and was named one of the 100 Romanian Successful Young Managers of the Year. She is also Founder of the Arena Leilor Foundation and a member of the International Dinners Club.

Remus Aurel Benta
Remus Aurel Benta

Chief Executive Officer at DAW Benta Romania, 2013 European Young Leader

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Remus is CEO of DAW Benta Romania, a leading company in the field of construction, transportation, real estate and property management. The Benta Group has extended its activities all throughout Eastern Europe and holds showrooms in over 40 different locations. Since 2001 Remus and the DAW Benta Group have been rewarded on numerous occasions with First Place in the Top Businesses and Businessmen lists of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2011 Remus was listed as one of the top 500 wealthiest people in Romania by Forbes Magazine.

Leendert de Voogd
Leendert de Voogd

Global Service Line Leader Social Intelligence Analytics at Ipsos, 2013 European Young Leader

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Leendert is Global Head of the Political and Social Practice of TNS, one of the world’s largest market research companies. From 2002 to 2007 he was Joint Managing Director of TNS Opinion, a co-ordination centre for multi-country studies based in Brussels. Leendert is a member of ESOMAR, a worldwide market, social and opinion research association. Over the last 15 years he has been in charge of the coordination of survey research in countries around the world for an important number of international institutions such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Parliament and the World Bank. He studied Political Science at Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and also at Institut d’Etudes politiques / Sciences Po Paris.

Josep-Maria Gascón
Josep-Maria Gascón

Co-Founder & CEO of Vitaes and Meditech Capital and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Josep-Maria Gascón is the Co-Founder and CEO Meditech Capital, a telemedicine company which diagnoses cardiovascular diseases, and Vitaes, a boutique strategic executive consulting firm that provides insights on macroeconomic data to help high-level decision-makers understand the evolution of societies and economies, as well as asses business options and risks. He is the former director of strategy and competitive intelligence within Ministry of Business of the Government of Catalonia and previously served as the head of finance excellence and one of the leading lawyers at the chemical giant Solvay. Josep-Maria received the Forbes 40 under Forty Award as one of the best young lawyers in the Iberian Peninsula. He has held several senior positions on all continents in general management, business strategy, as well as legal and tax advice. He was appointed a Business Ambassador by the Government of Catalonia for his role in attracting investment to the region. Josep-Maria is also the President of the World Chemical Summit and a Professor of Resource Management at the GBSB Global Business School. He is a frequent speaker and authors articles in international and national media about leadership, organisational behaviour, change management and geopolitics.

Rabah Ghezali
Rabah Ghezali

Head of Regulatory and Government Relations France & Benelux at VISA and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Rabah is the Head of Regulatory and Government Relations for France and Benelux at VISA and an Adjunct Professor of Economics at Sciences Po Paris. Prior to this, he was group director of public policy and regulatory affairs at VEON and director of European legislative affairs, European government affairs and public advocacy at NYSE Euronext. Rabah has had a successful diplomatic and legal career having worked as a counsellor for major corporations and states. Rabah is a founding member of the Transatlantic Network 2020, which brings innovative perspectives on transatlantic relations by connecting rising North American and European leaders of tomorrow. He has also been awarded the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellowship and selected as a member of the Young Atlanticists Group by the Atlantic Council.

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Jakob Haesler

Managing Director at Foxdixneuf and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Prior to founding Project Alloy, Jakob was the CEO and Co-Founder of Tinyclues SAS, a Paris-based software startup with the objective of industrialising datamining on Big Data with the help of advanced machine learning algorithms in a Cloud Computing environment. Previously he was a partner and consultant at McKinsey & Company in Germany and France where he worked on topics ranging from Banking to Public Sector Reform to Global Public Health issues, notably the creation and distribution of child HIV treatments. Prior to McKinsey he briefly worked at the World Bank. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science from the University of St. Gallen. Jakob is also a founding partner of the “Cercle du Leadership”.

Fabian Heilemann
Fabian Heilemann

Founder & CEO of Sky & Sand and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Fabian founded the leading German couponing company DailyDeal in 2009. To date he still leads DailyDeal together with his co-founder and brother. In private, he invests as a business angel in technology start-ups through his holding Heilemann Ventures. Before founding DailyDeal, Fabian worked for various German law firms and as a business consultant for Booz & Co. Prior to that, he passed the First Bar Exam of the State of Hamburg with distinctions and submitted a PhD thesis in Corporate Law at Heidelberg Law School. He was a visiting student at Santa Clara University and Stanford University, CA, USA and founded the Entrepreneurs Club at Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany.

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Lars Hinrichs

Serial Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Cinco Capital and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Lars is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is the Founder and CEO of both Cinco Capital, a private equity fund that invested in tech companies throughout Europe and the United States, and HackFwd, a pre-seen venture capital company which invests in technical talent across Europe. Lars also founded XING, a networking platform dedicated to cultivating business contacts. His other projects include Apartimentum and politik-digital.de. Among the most successful web entrepreneurs in Germany, Lars has received several awards, including the 2004 German Internet Prize of the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Lead Award, Germany’s top award for print and online media. He was also elected Germany’s most important web entrepreneur in 2008 by the Startups Initiative. A true expert in his field, Lars is a member of the supervisory and advisory boards of various companies and advises politicians on digitalisation at the local, national and European levels. He is also an honorary member of the German Committee of UNICEF.

Anna Król
Anna Król

Founder & President of the Board, Go Culture and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Anna is the Founder and President of the Board of Go Culture, the first professional Polish agency dealing with the implementation and communication of cultural projects. As such she is responsible for promotional campaigns and projects and has planned and dealt with the communication aspects of not only publishing houses, festivals, concerts, social and educational events, but also of well-known international consumer brands. Four of the projects she carried out were awarded the Golden Clip prize in a contest organised by the Public Relations Companies Association for the best public relations campaigns. Anna also runs a café bookstore and independent Big Book Café literary centre in her hometown Mokotów. She is also a lecturer at the Polish Open University and an expert in the field of professional theatre.

Axelle Lemaire
Axelle Lemaire

Global Head, Terra Numerata and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Axelle’s current position at Terra Numerata. sees her heading the growth of this unique, open platform aiming to bring together notable digital players. With more than 70 partners including startups and established technology companies, Terra Numerata is a unique, open platform aiming to bring together notable digital players. Previously a Socialist Party Member of the French Parliament, she was elected in 2012 as a Member of the European Affairs Committee and Secretary for the Bills Committee. After working as a lawyer and law researcher at University, her keen interest in politics brought her to the House of Commons, where she spent several years working for a Labour MP.

Photo of André Loesekrug-Pietri
André Loesekrug-Pietri

Chairman and Scientific Director of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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André Loesekrug-Pietri is an entrepreneur and has held leadership positions in private equity, government and industry. He is currently the Chairman of JEDI, which aims to accelerate Europe’s leadership by financing and nurturing the development of breakthrough technologies. He previously served as a special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, where he was responsible for European defence policy, as well as technology and innovation, prior to which he has 15 years of experience in private equity and venture capital. Loesekrug-Pietri is a lecturer at Sciences Po and a regular columnist at several international media outlets. Having studied aerospace engineering, he is also a private pilot and Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.

Mika Mäkeläinen
Mika Mäkeläinen

Serial Entrepreneur and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Mika is the Founder of Taivas + helvetti, the Co-Founder of Rainmaker Business and a Partner at Boardman, the leading network of corporate governance specialists in Finland. He is also currently a member of the Finnish Association of Professional Board Members and sits on the board of Sifter Capital. He is the former CEO of GTW Group, a management company that regroups a wide range of companies specialising in diverse fields, such as sales, consultancy, web services, e-commerce, marketing and IT services. In recognition of his work as a successful entrepreneur, Mika has been named the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Finland and among the 100 most influential opinion leaders in Finland.

Photo of Elena Alfaro Martinez
Elena Alfaro Martinez

Global Head of Data & Advanced Analytics, Client Solutions at BBVA and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Elena is currently the Head of Data & Advanced Analytics, Client Solutions at BBVA and a member of the Digital Leaders Group Europe at the World Economic Forum. Elena formerly served as CEO of BBVA Data & Analytics and previously managed the innovation unit at BBVA, where she led a global initiative on big data and smart cities, which aimed to create new urban services based on smart data and information management. She gained international recognition for the initiative’s accomplishments. Prior to establishing herself as an expert in the field of innovation, Elena played an active role in the development of telecommunications in EMEA and LATAM in the business development area.

Adolfo Mesquita Nunes
Adolfo Mesquita Nunes

Partner, Gama Glória and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Adolfo Mesquita Nunes

Adolfo was the Portuguese Secretary of State of Tourism till 2015. Prior to this he was a Member of the Portuguese Parliament’s Committees on Ethics, Communication and Citizenship; Budget, Finance and Public Administration; and Monitoring Measures of the Financial Assistance Programme to Portugal. He has extensive experience in the legal sector, having served as a lawyer, consultant and advisor to various public institutions and private firms. In 2004 he was Head of Cabinet for the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning. He holds a Master’s degree in Law and Political Science from the University of Lisbon where he defended his thesis on The Urgency in Public Procurement Litigation.

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Events

Continue to Selection process

Selection process

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE APPLICATION DEADLINE WAS MARCH 15. THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS NOW CLOSED

The European Young Leaders programme is a unique, inventive, and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.

The European Young Leaders represent the most promising European leadership from all over the continent and with a wide variety of backgrounds including: politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media.

The programme acts as a forum for those who have already established themselves at the forefront of their professions to meet, discuss and collaborate with their counterparts from other fields of expertise. Previous candidates include: government ministers, CEOs, Michelin-starred chefs, international film directors, and high profile journalists.

Since the launch of the programme, we have gradually taken steps to ensure the diversity and exceptional quality of its selection process. We have made sure that its comprehensive and competitive nature ensures the identification and selection of remarkable individuals.

We aim to select 40 European Young Leaders of diverse backgrounds in order to enable a broad exchange of ideas, creating the basis for a new generation of engaged European leaders.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1982);
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the UK or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia);
  • Candidates should have established themselves at the highest levels of their chosen profession, or be on track to do so;
  • Candidates must be committed to serve society at large through noteworthy contributions and have demonstrated a record of significant achievements and outstanding professional experience;
  • Candidates are also evaluated based on their ability to contribute to the enrichment of the programme as a whole;
  • Candidates are required to be fluent in English as it is the working language of the programme.
  • Candidates must commit to participating in at least one seminar during the programme year.

To be considered for the 2022 selection process, all applications and nominations must be sent to: eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

Application deadline: Monday, 15 March 2021

To read in detail about the selection process, please click here

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