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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

Diane Binder
Diane Binder

Vice-President for International Development, Africa and Near East at Suez Group; Member of the Presidential Council for Africa of France, 2018 European Young Leader

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Diane has more than 15 years of international experience in global corporations, consulting, government, international organisations and NGOs. As current Vice-President at Suez, a global leader in the water and waste sector, she leads their activities in Africa and the Middle East supporting cities and industries in the circular economy to preserve, optimise and secure the resources essential to our future. Diane is also the founder of the NGO Action Emploi Réfugiés, which aims to facilitate refugees’ access to jobs, and advises French President Emmanuel Macron as Member of the Presidential Council on Africa. In 2014, she was listed by the French newspaper Les Echos as part of the “French touch”, the 100 personalities promoting France abroad.

Photo of John Collison
John Collison

Co-Founder and President of Stripe, 2018 European Young Leader

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John Collison is president and co-founder of Stripe, the software company that is expanding internet commerce by making it easy to process transactions from anywhere. John and his brother Patrick started Stripe in 2010 while John was studying physics at Harvard. Their goal was to make accepting payments online simpler and more inclusive, after learning firsthand how difficult it was. Today, the 1700-person and growing Stripe team powers online businesses around the world. Prior to Stripe, John co-founded Auctomatic, which was acquired by Live Current Media in March 2008. Originally from Limerick, Ireland, John lives in San Francisco, California, where Stripe is based.

Sébastien de Halleux
Sébastien de Halleux

COO at Saildrone, 2018 European Young Leader

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Sébastien is responsible for the operation of Saildrone, a company revolutionising data collection at sea through the use of wind and solar powered drones. Saildrone’s mission is to quantify planetary systems like extreme weather, global fisheries and carbon fluxes. Sébastien also cofounded Playfish, which was one of the largest and fastest growing social gaming companies with over 300mn players, before being acquired by video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) in 2009. Sébastien has also been the recipient of the Tech 100 and Tech Fellow Awards.

Alexandre Farto
Alexandre Farto

Artist, Galeria Vera Cortês, 2018 European Young Leader

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Alexandre, known under the tag name ‘Vhils’, is a Portuguese street artist, best known for his urban murals, his use of urban settings – walls, doors, debris – as ‘canvasses’ or materials for his art, as well as the destructive processes by which he constructs art. Alexandre studied in London, and gained prominence when his work was showcased at the Cans Festival in London. As well as technically and visually innovative, Alexandre’s art has a social function as it attempts to cast a spotlight on situations of social injustice, and to create a dialogue around these. His work has since continued to gain recognition, with his work appearing in cities worldwide and he has been featured alongside street artists of the likes of Banksy.

Cristina Fonseca
Cristina Fonseca

Venture Partner at Indico Capital Partners, 2018 European Young Leader

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Cristina is a software engineer and tech entrepreneur, who co-founded one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies, Talkdesk, a platform that allows anyone to quickly create a call centre online. Previously, Cristina has worked as a researcher at INESC-ID, a Portuguese non-profit institution conducting advanced research in electronics, energy, telecommunications and information technologies. Cristina is passionate about Artificial Intelligence and the impact of technology, and advises early-stage start-ups.

Daire Hickey
Daire Hickey

Managing Partner at 150 Bond & Co-Founder of the Web Summit, 2018 European Young Leader

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Daire is the Managing Partner at 150 Bond, a strategic advisory firm, and one of the co-founders of the Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech start-up event and the largest technology conference in the world. In this role, he has facilitated a number of tech conferences in the United States and Europe. Daire is also a former journalist, who has worked for the Irish broadcaster RTE and several Irish newspapers. Former journalist and columnist, Daire is an active angel investor and a member of several company advisory boards.

Kristel Kruustuk
Kristel Kruustuk

Founder and CEO of Testilo, 2018 European Young Leader

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As CEO and co-founder of Testlio, Kristel leads a professional testing platform that helps software developers by connecting them to the best testers all over the world. The business is still growing rapidly, having already raised more than $6.25 million in investment capital, and works with a roster of major US and international clients, including the NBA, Microsoft, CBS and Hotels.com.

Rebeca Minguela
Rebeca Minguela

Founder, Blink Booking, 2018 European Young Leader

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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.

Claudia Olsson
Claudia Olsson

Founder & CEO, Exponential AB, 2018 European Young Leader

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Claudia is the Founder and CEO of Exponential AB, a global consultancy with a focus on digital transformation. Claudia has helped governments and businesses alike to understand the impact of new technologies and has provided smart solutions to addressing global challenges. She is the author of the Sweden 2030 Future Scenario for the Government of Sweden. Claudia has previously worked on issues related to healthcare access, setting up think-tank ACCESS Health International that aims to provide location-independent high-quality care for everyone.

Tomáš Žáček
Tomáš Žáček

CEO, Ecocapsule, 2018 European Young Leader

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Tomas is an award-winning Slovakian architect. Apart from being a partner at the architectural firm Nice&Wise, he is the Co-founder, CEO and Design Director of Ecocapsule, a start-up that designed a portable house with long off-grid life span, worldwide portability and flexibility. As such, the Ecocapsule is suitable for a wide range of applications: from an independent research station or a tourist lodge to an emergency housing or a humanitarian-action unit. For this project, Tomas won the People’s Choice Award at the Start-up Awards Slovakia and the Silver Medal at the K-design Awards in Korea.

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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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