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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 Mariya Gabriel
Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Formerly European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel is currently responsible for the implementation of the future Horizon Europe programme and the development of a European Research Area. Previously, Gabriel was a Member of the European Parliament, active as Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP), and involved in a wide range of parliamentary committees, including acting as EPP Group coordinator for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Recipient of several international awards, she is passionate about initiatives related to young people, and has established six European information centres in Bulgaria.

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver

Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, Leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks and European Young Leader Alumnus

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Jesse currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch Parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Jesse was instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Jesse was the spokesperson for Finance, Environment and Education and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.

Elisabeth Köstinger
Elisabeth Köstinger

Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, Austria, 2018 European Young Leader

Show more information on Elisabeth Köstinger

Elisabeth is an Austrian politician and the current Federal Minister for Sustainability, Agriculture and Tourism in the Austrian government. Previously, Elisabeth was the President of the National Council, the first chamber of the Austrian Parliament, and a Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2017, belonging to the European People’s Party Group (EPP), and won the MEP Award for her work in agriculture and rural development in 2014. She currently serves as the Vice-President of the Austrian Farmers Association, and continues to passionately advocate for issues related to rural areas and their development.

Helena Linder-Jess
Helena Linder-Jess

Assistant Naval Attachée for the Embassy of Germany to the United States of America, 2018 European Young Leader

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As the first woman as Commanding Officer in the German Navy (FGS Datteln), Helena has participated in several international missions under the United Nations and NATO with her crew. In this role, she has been responsible for all issues concerning her ship, crew and assignments, including extensive training and combat cycles. Helena is the first woman ever to take over the command of a German navy ship.

Gottfried Ludewig
Gottfried Ludewig

Head of the Directorate General for Digitalisation and Innovation at the German ministry for Health and European Young Leader

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In his current position, Gottfried is advancing the digitalisation and innovative capacity of Germany’s health sector. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Chairman and the spokesperson for health issues of the Christian Democrats Union parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives. In this position, Gottfried was particularly committed to strengthening research and innovation in the healthcare sector as well as advocating for the creation of a Berlin nursing home as an institutionalised representation of the care sector in the Berlin House of Representatives.

Photo of Sammy Mahdi
Sammy Mahdi

Chairman of the youth wing of the Flemish CD&V party, 2018 European Young Leader

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Sammy, the son of an Iraqi political refugee and a Belgian mother, has become the first ever Chairman from Brussels to lead the Flemish ‘Jong CD&V’ party. He has previously served as a parliamentary assistant and writes a regular column for the Belgian newspaper De Morgen. Passionate about issues related to integration and equality, Sammy is viewed as a bridge builder between Belgium’s Muslim and non-Muslim populations.

Roberta Metsola
Roberta Metsola

Member of the European Parliament and European Young Leader Alumna

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Roberta is one of Malta’s first female Members of the European Parliament, belonging to the European People’s Party Group (EPP). A lawyer by training, Roberta currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Petitions and contributes to several other parliamentary committees and delegations. A two-time MEP award winner for her work on justice and civil liberties, Roberta was selected to host the awards 2017 edition.

Brune Poirson
Brune Poirson

Member of the French National Assembly, 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Brune spent a great part of her professional career working in Asia, notably for then Cabinet Minister Sam Pitroda, a pioneer of the Indian telecom revolution, in the Indian government. She then joined the French Development Agency coordinating projects on sustainable urban development and the preservation of biodiversity. As Director of Sustainable Development for South Asia at Veolia, Brune worked in the slums of large Indian megacities focusing on projects related to drinking water distribution. In 2017, Brune returned to France and joined Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche. She was elected Member of the National Assembly and, on the same day, was appointed as the Secretary of State to the Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition. In 2020, following the change in government in France, she returned to her duties as Member of the National Assembly full time.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Democratic Party Leader, 2018 European Young Leader

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As a Democratic Party Leader in the Italian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Lia has been one of the rising stars of Italian politics. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa, and has worked for the Mozambique Government as an economist and policy development analyst. Lia is President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), the Italian section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security network (WIIS). In 2016 she promoted the creation of the Young European Legislator Network to create a united front on young people’s policies in Europe.

Nasima Razmyar
Nasima Razmyar

Member of Parliament and Deputy Mayor of Helsink, National Parliament, Finland, 2018 European Young Leader

Show more information on Nasima Razmyar

Nasima is an Afghan-Finnish politician, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki and a former member of the Finnish Parliament, representing the Social Democratic Party. She also works with Finnish NGOs that work to promote gender and ethnic equality in Finland. Nasima’s family first moved to Finland from Afghanistan in 1992, and her refugee experience has shaped her political career, in which she prioritises social welfare such as education, the environment, and housing. Nasima is the first Member of Finnish Parliament to have a refugee background, and in 2010 was named refugee woman of the year by the Finnish Refugee Council for her work to promote equality and the preservation of the Finnish welfare system.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, The Scottish Government, 2018 European Young Leader

Show more information on Humza Yousaf

“Since July 2018 : Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
Humza is the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and Islands. Despite his young age, Yousaf has already served for four years as Scotland’s first minister for Europe and International Development, apart from other positions in the public service. At 27, he became the youngest minister in the Scottish Government’s history as well as the first ever minister from an ethnic minority background.While delivering his oath of allegiance, he notably, embraced his British-Pakistani heritage and British multiculturalism while wearing a kilt and speaking in Urdu. He has been involved in community work, being a spokesperson and volunteer on several issues related to homelessness and asylum seekers and has been described as a “role model for all Scots”.”

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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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