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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

Photo of Malcolm Byrne
Malcolm Byrne

Irish senator at Seanad Eireann, 2014 European Young Leader

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Malcolm is an Irish senator at Seanad Eireann. He was previously 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. A graduate in law and in arbitration from University College Dublin, he has worked for various lobbying and representative organisations, as well as having been the first commercial manager with myhome.ie, Ireland’s most successful property website. He is a member of Wexford County Council for the centrist Fianna Fáil party and Mayor of Gorey. He is part of the 2014 group of European Young Leaders. He has been awarded scholarships to study the Canadian and Australian higher education systems. This October, in Dublin, he hopes to complete his 30th marathon.

Damien English
Damien English

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, 2015-2016 European Young Leader

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Damien is Ireland’s Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation for the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. He was first elected in the 2002 general election at the age of 24, when he was appointed party deputy spokesperson for Arts, Sport and Tourism. In October 2004, he became Deputy Spokesperson for Justice and Community Affairs with special responsibility for Drugs, Alcohol and Crime Prevention. From 2002-2007, Damien was a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. He has also served as Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson for Enterprise with special responsibility for Small Business and Labour Affairs from 2007 to 2010, and from 2010 to 2011 was party Deputy Spokesperson for Finance with special responsibility for Banking and Credit.

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Events

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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