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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.

The 2020 Class of European Young Leaders:


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

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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

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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

Nicola Formichella
Nicola Formichella

Former Member of the Italian Parliament, 2013 European Young Leader

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Nicola is CEO of the Buongoverno Foundation and of “Italianiinmente”, a business accelerator and incubator for Italian start-ups. He was also the former 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 was 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.

Riccardo Maraga
Riccardo Maraga

Lawyer, Head of Industrial relations of Federturismo Confindustria, Ughi e Nunziante, 2012 European Young Leader

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A highly regarded Italian lawyer, Riccardo currently shares his time between Federturismo Confindustria and Ughi e Nunziante, where he’s an expert on employment law as well as privacy and data protection. Riccardo was previously Mayor of the city of Amelia in the Umbria region. At the time one of the youngest politicians in Italy, He was a member of the Democratic Party focussing on sustainable development and global governance. As an elected official, he took pride being in direct contact with citizens. He has published several articles on European social and labour regulations in labour law magazines and reviews.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Democratic Party Leader, 2018 European Young Leader

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As a Democratic Party Leader in the Italian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Lia has been one of the rising stars of Italian politics. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa, and has worked for the Mozambique Government as an economist and policy development analyst. Lia is President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), the Italian section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security network (WIIS). In 2016 she promoted the creation of the Young European Legislator Network to create a united front on young people’s policies in Europe.

Virginia Raggi
Virginia Raggi

Mayor, City of Rome, 2017 European Young Leader

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Virginia is the first woman to become mayor of Rome after winning the 2016 municipal election with two-thirds of the vote. She is considered as a rising star of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), a party that she joined in 2011, two years before being elected to Rome’s city council. Called a talented debated by the Economist, Virginia vowed to end corruption, introduce a new level of transparency to the Roman government and revamp the city’s failing infrastructure. Virginia fiercely campaigned against the proposed amendment to the Italian constitution in the run-up to the 2016 constitutional referendum. A lawyer by training, she specialises in intellectual property and new technology.

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Continue to Selection process

Selection process

Due to Covid-19, no European Young Leaders class will be selected for 2021. Application for the class of 2022 will open in the spring of 2021.

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 to EU integration (Serbia, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North 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.

*references to Kosovo in this document 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.

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