Having previously served as the commissioner for digital economy and society, Mariya currently serves as the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Digital Economy and Society. Mariya is a former member of the European Parliament, in which role she was active as both the head of the Bulgarian European People’s Party (EPP) delegation and vice-president of the EPP party. She was also involved in a wide range of parliamentary committees, having served as the EPP Group coordinator for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), and as a member of the committees on agriculture and rural development (AGRI); civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE); petitions (PETI); and the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM). The recipient of several international awards, she is passionate about initiatives related to young people and has established six European information centres in Bulgaria.
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Meet the next generation of young leaders destined to shape Europe’s future in our new EYL40 Class of 2022.
From champions of the arts and tech entrepreneurs, to leading activists and Olympic athletes, meet the new young leaders as they are revealed each day over the next two weeks. Follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
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
Leading viewJoss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?
Leading viewNegar Mortazavi on Europe's role in the US-Iran dispute, the Trump factor and the role of media
Leading viewUna Mullally on abortion rights, marriage equality and galvanising a generation for change
Meet the EYL40
Jesse currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch Parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Jesse was instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Jesse was the spokesperson for Finance, Environment and Education and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.
Elisabeth is an Austrian politician and the current Federal Minister for Sustainability, Agriculture and Tourism in the Austrian government. Previously, Elisabeth was the President of the National Council, the first chamber of the Austrian Parliament, and a Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2017, belonging to the European People’s Party Group (EPP), and won the MEP Award for her work in agriculture and rural development in 2014. She currently serves as the Vice-President of the Austrian Farmers Association, and continues to passionately advocate for issues related to rural areas and their development.
As the first woman as Commanding Officer in the German Navy (FGS Datteln), Helena has participated in several international missions under the United Nations and NATO with her crew. In this role, she has been responsible for all issues concerning her ship, crew and assignments, including extensive training and combat cycles. Helena is the first woman ever to take over the command of a German navy ship.
Ludewig leads the healthcare division of T-Systems International and is responsible for driving the company’s development of the healthcare market. Prior to his current role, he worked to advance the digitalisation and innovative capacity of Germany’s health sector as the head of the Department of Healthcare Digitalization at the German Ministry of Health, where he was notably responsible for the introduction of the digital vaccination card. Ludewig was also instrumental in promoting the electronic patient file and establishing the FDZ research data centre. As a member of the Berlin House of Representatives, he was the deputy chairman and health policy spokesperson the Christian Democrats Union parliamentary group. In this position, Ludewig was particularly committed to strengthening research and innovation in the healthcare sector.
Sammy, the son of an Iraqi political refugee and a Belgian mother, has become the first ever Chairman from Brussels to lead the Flemish ‘Jong CD&V’ party. He has previously served as a parliamentary assistant and writes a regular column for the Belgian newspaper De Morgen. Passionate about issues related to integration and equality, Sammy is viewed as a bridge builder between Belgium’s Muslim and non-Muslim populations.
Roberta is the youngest ever and third woman President of the European Parliament. Prior to this, she served as Vice-President of the European Parliament, also as a member on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, among several other parliamentary committees and delegations. A lawyer by profession, Roberta is a member of the European People’s Party Group (EPP) and among the first female members of parliament to represent Malta. She is a two-time recipient of Parliament Magazine’s MEP Award, receiving recognition for her work on justice and civil liberties, and hosted the awards ceremony in 2017.
Brune is the Chief Sustainability Officer and a Member of the Executive Committee at Accor, a multinational hospitality company. Her role includes defining, driving and monitoring commitments, strategy and rollout of Accor’s plans in relation to sustainable development. She is also responsible for the Accor Solidarity and ALL Heartists endowment funds and additionally serves on the Board of Trustees of Fondation de la Mer. During her tenure as a member of the French National Assembly, Brune served as the secretary of state to the French Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition and became the first French minister elected as vice-president of the United Nations Environment Assembly. She was previously the director of sustainability and social responsibility for South Asia at Veolia, where projects focused on drinking water distribution in the slums of Indian megacities, and a coordinator of sustainability projects at the French Development Agency in New Delhi.
Lia is a rising star in Italian politics. She is the Leader of the Democratic Party in the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, as well as the Head of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the National Secretariat. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, Lia is the President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security (WIIS) network. As a Research Fellow, Lia coordinates the activities of Africa programme at ISPI and lectures on policies for development cooperation at the University of Pavia. She has published a number of reports and articles on, Italian development aid strategies, as well as economist development and aid effectiveness in Africa. Prior to her current roles, Lia worked for the Mozambique government as an economist and policy development analyst.
Nasima is an Afghan-Finnish politician. Until recently she served as deputy mayor of Helsinki and a former member of the Finnish Parliament, representing the Social Democratic Party. She also works with Finnish NGOs that work to promote gender and ethnic equality in Finland. Nasima’s family first moved to Finland from Afghanistan in 1992, and her refugee experience has shaped her political career, in which she prioritises social welfare such as education, the environment, and housing. Nasima is the first Member of Finnish Parliament to have a refugee background, and in 2010 was named refugee woman of the year by the Finnish Refugee Council for her work to promote equality and the preservation of the Finnish welfare system.
“Since July 2018 : Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
Humza is the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and Islands. Despite his young age, Yousaf has already served for four years as Scotland’s first minister for Europe and International Development, apart from other positions in the public service. At 27, he became the youngest minister in the Scottish Government’s history as well as the first ever minister from an ethnic minority background.While delivering his oath of allegiance, he notably, embraced his British-Pakistani heritage and British multiculturalism while wearing a kilt and speaking in Urdu. He has been involved in community work, being a spokesperson and volunteer on several issues related to homelessness and asylum seekers and has been described as a “role model for all Scots”.”
APPLICATIONS FOR THE EYL CLASS OF 2023 ARE NOW CLOSED.
NOMINATIONS FOR UKRAINIAN NATIONALS* ARE OPEN UNTIL 24 JUNE 2022
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 a new generation of European leaders from all over the continent and various 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 to enable a broad exchange of ideas, creating the basis for a new generation of engaged European leaders.
- Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1983).
- 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 of the two EYL seminars during the programme year.
Please click HERE for the detailed Selection Guidelines 2023.
Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The current crisis has prompted us to open up the programme to Ukraine as a pilot initiative. In future years we hope to find a way of including more people who are not EU nationals/citizens but are contributing positively to current Europe (e.g., candidates from our neighbourhood countries and refugees).
**References to Kosovo here are used without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
- Area of Expertise
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability
- Area of Expertise
- Climate, Energy & Sustainability