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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

Josep-Maria Gascón
Josep-Maria Gascón

Founder & CEO of Vitaes Talent, 2013 European Young Leader

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Josep-Maria is the Founder and CEO of Vitaes Talent, a company that provides fact-based insights on macroeconomic data and markets to help high-level decision-makers understand how the world, the society and the economy are evolving and asses business options and risks. Josep-Maria is former Director of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence within Ministry of Business of the Government of Catalonia. Previously he was Head of Finance Excellence at the chemical giant Solvay and one of his leading lawyers. He has held international senior positions in all continents in general management, business strategy and legal & tax advice.Josep-Maria won the ‘40 under Forty’ Award, as one of the the best young lawyers in the Iberian Peninsula. He was also appointed as ‘Business Ambassador’ by the Government of Catalonia, for his role attracting investment to the region. Josep-Maria is the President of the “World Chemical Summit” and also a Professor of Resource Management at the GBSB Global Business School. He is a frequent speaker and publishes articles in international and national media about leadership, organisational behaviour, change management and geopolitics.

Javier Gonzalez
Javier Gonzalez

Vice President of Bitext, 2012 European Young Leader

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Javier was until recently the international director of Digimarc, which develops solutions, licenses intellectual property, and provides development services to global business partners across a wide range of industries, focusing on delivering simplicity to users’ interactions with media and the physical world. Previously, he was founder and CEO of aquaMobile SL, a mobile value-added services provider based in Madrid, and one of the most successful digital watermarking solutions companies. He has also worked in management roles for various start-ups, such as Alvento and Mobile 365 Inc. He is Co-founder of the tMA Foundation, which encourages innovative and entrepreneurial projects in conjunction with MIT. Javier is a graduate from the Madrid Polytechnic University and ESCP Europe.

Rebeca Minguela
Rebeca Minguela

Founder and CEO of Clarity AI and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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As Founder of Clarity AI, Rebeca looks to solve the problem of inefficient and unequal allocation of capital by building an automated tool which rates the investment portfolios of a range of projects, companies, governments and NGOs. Rebeca is also the Founder of the Blink Booking mobile app, an award-winning last-minute booking app that is a market leader in Europe with more than 800,000 downloads, almost 3,000 hotels and available in six languages before its sale to Groupon. Previously, Rebeca served as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and as engineer at the German Aerospace Agency, Siemens and IBM.

Alfredo Munoz
Alfredo Munoz

Founder and CEO of ABIBOO, 2019 European Young Leader

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Alfredo is a global architect who has designed and managed more than six million square meters across five continents. In addition to being the youngest internationally-renowned Spanish architect, he was also selected for the European Centre & Chicago Athenaeum Museum Architecture and Design bi-annual awards programme. Under Alfredo’s leadership, ABIBOO has designed projects in a wide range of scales, from large urban developments and affordable housing townships to small temporal structures. Before founding ABIBOO, Alfredo held senior roles at Toyo Ito (Pritzker Prize), and SOM (1,700+ awards).

Sara García Ruiz
Sara García Ruiz

Engineer, S.A. de Electronica Submarina (SAES), 2012 European Young Leader

Show more information on Sara García Ruiz

Sara is an engineer at S.A. de Electronica Submarina (SAES), a company specialised in submarine electronics and acoustics. Prior to this, she was a Member of the Murcian regional Parliament where she served as First Secretary of the Defense Committee as well as a Member of the Science and Innovation and Equality Committees. She has been a Member of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party since she was 16. She studied communications engineering and has worked in the defence policy sector. She stands for male-female parity in Spain’s politics and for the presence of members of parliament of all ages.

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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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