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Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

For almost a decade the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme has brought together the brightest minds and outside the box leaders to put their innovative thinking to work at building a more forward-thinking Europe that is a global champion for a better world. The European Young Leaders represent a new generation of leaders, able to tackle the increasing disconnects between citizens and political elites, to rebuild the trust that is vital to democracies.

These promising and established leaders come from a variety of backgrounds including politics, business, civil society, arts, science and the media.


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

Selene Biffi
Selene Biffi

Founder & Executive Director at Plain Ink, 2013 European Young Leader

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Selene is the founder of several social ventures, including Plain Ink – free, educational comics created for children and communities in developing countries – and Youth Action for Change (YAC), high-quality, free, online courses for young change-makers in 130 countries. She has been a consultant, trainer and speaker for many organisations including the UN, Amnesty International, the World Bank, Oxfam, OSCE, the Council of Europe, Columbia University and Microsoft. She is now part of the Italian Economic Development Minister’s Taskforce on Innovative Startups. Selene is a member of RENA, an Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies. She holds a NOHA Master’s in International Humanitarian Action from UCD (Ireland) and diplomas from Harvard University and INSEAD Business School.

Nicola Formichella
Nicola Formichella

Local Authorities & Parliamentarian Affairs Councilior, Office of the Govenor of the Campania Region, 2013 European Young Leader

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Nicola is the Local Authorities and Parliamentarian Affairs Councillor for the Governor of Campania and the Deputy Head of Training for the national People of Freedom party (PDL). He is also CEO of the Buongoverno Foundation and of “Italianiinmente”, a business accelerator and incubator for Italian start-ups. He was until recently a Member of the Italian Parliament’s EU Policy Committee and Head of the PDL party. Nicola started his career in the media sector as a TV station journalist for which he became Director in 1999. After working as a Parliamentary assistant, Nicola decided to run for the 2008 state legislative elections in the Campania region and was elected Deputy. Nicola holds a degree in Political Science from the Luiss Guido Carli University of Rome and a Master’s in Legislative Studies from the Istituto per la Documentazione e gli Studi Legislativi (ISLE) in Rome.

Alessandro Fusacchia
Alessandro Fusacchia

Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, 2013 European Young Leader

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Alessandro is currently strategic advisory for H-Farm, an Italian Member of Parliament as well as secretary of Movimenta – a new Italian political organisation. Serving in the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the permanent commission on Culture, Science and Education Alessandro has previously acted as Head of Cabinet at the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research. He was Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Special Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development for European Affairs, Youth and Innovation. Alessandro also worked as an official at the Council of the European Union dealing with global economic governance and under the Italian Prime Minister’s office in Rome as part of the G8 team.

Michel Martone
Michel Martone

Professor of Law at Teramo University, 2013 European Young Leader

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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.

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Denis "Jaromil" Roio

Founder,Dyne.org Foundation, 2013 European Young Leader

Show more information on Denis "Jaromil" Roio

Denis (also known as Jaromil) is a free software programmer who founded Dyne.org, a website dedicated to the development of free software. He is also both a media artist and an activist. He has made significant contributions to the development of multimedia and streaming applications on the Linux platform and has led R&D activities in the Netherlands Media Art Institute for the past 6 years. He was honoured with the Vilém Flusser Theory Award in 2009, for his outstanding digital arts practice, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Planetary Collegium’s Milan node at the University of Plymouth.

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Selection process

The EYL40 programme is a unique, multi-stakeholder programme which aims to promote a sense of European identity by bringing together forty of the brightest European leaders every year and engaging them in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. 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. Additionally, in 2020, the programme will include 6 Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. In doing so, we aim to promote structural dialogue across the continent that will foster better mutual understanding.

Since the launch of the programme in 2012, 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. Candidates can either apply or be nominated for the selection process of the programme.

Selection criteria:

  •  Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age;
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates should have established themselves 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.

The deadline for nominations and applications for the 2020 European Young Leaders class has passed. We are currently reviewing the candidates and aim to announce the 2020 class before the end of 2019. We will open the application and nomination period for the class of 2021 in the spring of 2020.

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