About

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.


Listen here to the leading views of our EYLs on a variety of topics

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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Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Leading view

Philanthropy & the business case for human rights with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Antonio Zappulla

Antonio Zappulla

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Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Leading view

Author Francesca Cavallo on Rebel Girls, bro-culture and crowd-funding

Francesca Cavallo

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Meet the EYL40

Orm Oja
Orm Oja

Head Chef, NOA Chef's Hall, 2019 European Young Leader

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Orm is Head Chef at NOA Chef’s Hall, the White Guide’s pick for best restaurant in both the Baltics and Estonia for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Orm’s cooking, a mix of avant-garde and more traditional methods, keeps sustainability at its heart, with his dishes frequently relying on Estonia’s generous endowment of wild herbs, an inventory from which he forages his own ingredients. Following the rhythm of the four seasons of the north, Orm’s restaurant takes advantage of techniques such as pickling to preserve the nutrients and tastes of summer during the cold winter months. At only 26 years old and having already led NOA Chef’s Hall to being nominated as one of the best new dining experience destinations by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, Orm’s ambitions are now fixed on the prospect of achieving his first Michelin star.

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Selection process

Selection process for the Balkan class is now open

Friends of Europe is looking for outstanding candidates to join our Balkan European Young Leaders Class of 2020. Building on our successful European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme, we are expanding by selecting six Young Leaders from the Western Balkan region. These six Balkan Young Leaders will be invited to take part in all activities organised within our EYL40 programme.

We are looking for candidates who

  • Are between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1980);
  • Have proven track records as established thought leaders in their fields of activity;
  • Reached, or are on track to reaching, the highest ranks of their field of expertise;
  • Candidates must be a national of 1 of the 6 Balkan states currently involved in enlargement negotiations (Serbia, Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro);
  • Candidates are required to be fluent in English, the programme’s working language.

Current and previous European Young Leaders include

  • Eneko Atxa, Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi, Spain
  • Danka Barteková, Olympic Bronze Medallist, Slovakia
  • Clément Beaune, Europe and G20 Advisor to President Emmanuel Macron, France
  • John Collison, President & Co-Founder of Stripe, Ireland
  • Alexandra Dariescu, Concert Pianist and Producer of ‘The Nutcracker and I’, Romania
  • Carole Dieschbourg, Minister of the Environment, Luxembourg
  • Selina Juul, Founder and Chairman of the Stop Wasting Food movement, Denmark
  • Kaja Kallas, Leader of the liberal Reform party, Estonia
  • Magid Magid, Member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom
  • Frédéric Mazzella, CEO and Founder of BlablaCar, France
  • Souad Mekhennet, Correspondent for the Washington Post, Germany
  • Bastian Obermayer, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and recipient of the ‘Panama Papers’, Germany
  • Marko Pavic, Minister for Labour and the Pension System, Croatia
  • Jens Spahn, Minister for Health, Germany

Application process

For nominations:
Please send the full name, date of birth and all contact details of the candidate that you wish to nominate. Please include a short biography of their professional background and achievements, as well as a letter explaining why you believe that they are a suitable candidate for the programme.

For personal applications:
Please send your CV (including date of birth and full contact details), together with a cover letter explaining why you believe that you should be considered for the programme.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 11 October 2019
All submissions should be sent directly to eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

* For the United Nations Development Programme, references to Kosovo in this document accordingly shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
For the European Union, this designation used is 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.

The deadline for the selection process of the “regular” EYL40 class of 2020 has passed.

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