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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

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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

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

Photo of Mette Abildgaard
Mette Abildgaard

MP, group chair and political spokesperson for Conservative Party in Denmark, 2019 European Young Leaders

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In 2015, Mette became one of the youngest individuals to be elected Member to the Danish Parliament. Representing the Conservative People’s Party, she serves as the spokesperson for healthcare, environment, climate and the Danish constitution. In 2016, she was appointed as group chair and political spokesperson, a promotion which made her the youngest person to hold this position in the history of the Conservative People’s Party. Before being elected to the parliament, Mette served as a Member of the Regional Council of the Capital Region of Denmark and worked as a volunteer for the Danish Cancer Society. In addition to these posts, Mette has served on the board of the Metropol College of Higher Education

Clément Beaune
Clément Beaune

Europe and G20 Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, 2019 European Young Leader

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Clément Beaune is the Europe and G20 advisor to French president Emmanuel Macron, shadowing him during meetings with other European state heads. His presentations on Europe even when he was still in school were so accomplished that they were widely shared. Clément became Macron’s Europe adviser when Macron was still economy minister. Beaune advised Macron, helping him craft the push against Chinese steel dumping that is now at the heart of the president’s broader vision for a more defensive EU trade policy. The French president’s proposals during his En March Campaign for European Union reform were clearly influenced by his adviser.

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen

Chess grandmaster and MP in Lithuania, 2019 European Young Leader

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Viktorija serves as a Member of the Lithuanian Parliament for Liberalai. Given the fact that she started her career as a professional chess player, her entry into politics came about relatively recently. She was the European Women’s Champion in 2011 and is a two-time Lithuanian Champion. Her decision to undergo a career change followed her realisation that she wanted to contribute to society on a more political level. She succeeded in being elected to the parliament in 2015 and became Chair of the liberal fraction in 2018. In the parliament, Viktorija is a Member of the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on European Affairs.

Luke Graham
Luke Graham

Member of the House of Commons, 2019 European Young Leader

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Luke is a MP for the Conservative Party and a recently appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Cabinet Office. Before entering politics, Luke’s interests lied with finance and he worked in the private sector as an accountant for over a decade. Upon returning from five years abroad in China, Thailand and the United States, he campaigned for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. He also notably took on the role of finance director for Stronger In, the official remain campaign during the Brexit referendum. In the House of Commons, Luke is a member of the Finance Committee and previous member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Gyde Jensen
Gyde Jensen

Youngest MP in Germany, 2019 European Young Leader

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Gyde is the youngest female Member of the German Parliament. She is also Chairwoman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Prior to these posts, she spent time working in Geneva and Washington D.C, in addition to serving as communications manager at a political foundation. She is the co-founder of the start-up network platform, ‘Kiel Starting City’. In October 2017, she was elected a Member to the German Bundestag and is the speaker on human rights for the FDP parliamentary group. Since January 2018, she has chaired the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Photo of Assita Kanko
Assita Kanko

Member of European Parliament, 2019 European Young Leader

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Assita is a Belgian author, politician and entrepreneur. Previously a town councillor in Ixelles (one of the largest districts of Brussels), she is a popular media commentator, a columnist for newspaper De Standaard and founder of Polin – the political incubator a start-up to help women enter and advance in politics in Belgium. Growing up as a child in Burkina Faso, Kanko underwent female genital mutilation. After immigrating from the west African nation to Belgium, she became one of the most important fighters for gender equality and women’s rights. Having initially integrated the liberal party, she has since moved to the Flemish conservative party and aims to maintain her advocacy for fairness. She wrote two books on feminism and the position of women.

Magid Magid
Magid Magid

Member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, former Lord Mayor of Sheffield City Council, 2019 European Young Leader

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Magid is a Green MEP, elected to the European Parliament in 2019. Prior to this, he was chosen by Sheffield City Council to serve the one-year term as Lord Mayor. He was the youngest person ever to hold the job and he is also the first Green Party councillor to wear the chain of office. Magid came to Sheffield aged five after six months in an Ethiopian refugee camp. He joined the Green Party in 2015 due to his opposition to the rise of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Monika Panayotova
Monika Panayotova

Deputy Minister, Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2018, 2019 European Young Leader

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Monika was Deputy Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU2018. She previously served as a Member of the European Parliament for the European People’s Party or EPP. Prior to that post, she was a Member of the Bulgarian Parliament, a Chairwoman of the Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds and a member of the Foreign Policy and Defence Committee. Before starting her political career, Monika worked for an NGO and spent time as a research fellow at the Economic Policy Institute in Sofia.

Marko Pavić
Marko Pavić

Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds for Croatia, 2019 European Young Leader

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Having previously held the position of Minister for Labour and Pension Scheme, Marko Pavić is now in charge of EU funds for Croatia. Before entering the world of politics, Pavić dedicated his time to physics and oceanography. After finishing his studies, he travelled to Antarctica to study climate change developments. Among the various high-level positions he has held over the years, Pavić has worked as an Independent consultant for EU project development and has been involved in numerous organisational and educational development programmes.

Miguel Pina Martins
Miguel Pina Martins

CEO and Founder Science4You, 2019 European Young Leader

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Miguel is responsible for founding the toy company Science4You, which develops, produces and sells scientific toys that have won several awards due to their scientific merit, in addition to their innovation and usefulness in the teaching environment. Miguel founded the company in 2008 at the age of 22 when he was still a student. Since then, he has collected several individual awards (as well as collaborative ones) like the Entrepreneur of the year award from the European commission in 2010 or the Business Internalisation Award in 2013, granted by the British Government. In 2015, Science4you was awarded by the Portuguese President with the Order Entrepreneurial Merit’s medal.

Martia Vuk
Martina Vuk

Secretary of State for the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, 2019 European Young Leader

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Martina is currently the Secretary of State for the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. Having long been interested in politics, she began her political career by participating in the Young Democrats Forum towards the end of secondary school. This formative experience led her to pursue and obtain elected office at both the local and national level. At the Slovenia National Assembly, Martina has actively participated in the parliamentary group responsible for the fields of work, family, social affairs, health and human rights. For the past four and a half years, under two Governments, she worked as a state secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. As a Council of Europe-certified human rights trainer, she has worked with various non-governmental organisations to promote human rights and gender equality.

Serge Wilmes
Serge Wilmes

Deputy Chair, Chamber of Deputies, Luxembourg, 2019 European Young Leader

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Serge is a Luxemburgish MP for the Christian Social People’s Party. Originally interested in the fields of history and European society, Serge briefly worked for the national archives before quickly making his way into politics first as a parliamentary advisor and then an elected official from 2011 onwards. After being elected chairman of the Young Christian Socialists (Jeunesse Chrétienne-Sociale – CSJ) in 2008, Serge Wilmes went on to become chairman of the CSV for Luxembourg City in 2016. Since 2017, he has held the office of First Deputy Mayor (premier échevin) of Luxembourg City, overseeing urban development, architecture, information technology, commerce and tourism.

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Insights

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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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