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.

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

Start playback
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

Start playback
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

Start playback
Continue to Meet the EYL

Meet the EYL40

Photo of Inés Arrimadas García
Inés Arrimadas García

Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan parliament, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Inés Arrimadas García

Inés started her career in the private sector working for an industrial services company. In 2010, she attended a Ciudadanos rally with a friend and joined the party shortly afterward as the youth section spokesperson. In 2012, she was elected to the Catalonian Parliament as deputy spokesperson. She sat on the Committee on Business and Employment where she focused on socio-economic issues, such as the fight against inequalities and unemployment. Throughout her mandate, she was actively involved in different programmes at local, regional and national level. In 2015, she was appointed Leader of the Opposition as Ciudadanos climbed to second place in the Catalan parliamentary election

Photo of Kirsten Brosbøl
Kirsten Brosbøl

Obama Foundation Scholar, former member of the Danish Parliament and minister for the environment, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Kirsten Brosbøl

Kirsten has represented the Social Democrats in the Danish Parliament since 2005. She was a rapporteur on research and higher education as well as on gender equality and food. She was appointed as Denmark’s Minister of the Environment in 2014, in the government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt. In that position, she facilitated the development of sustainable solutions and contributed to the development of industrial growth and workplaces in Denmark. In the 2015 general election, she was re-elected to the Danish Parliament. Kirsten is the co-founder of the Bilateral Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. The network operates across party lines in the Danish Parliament to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights at a national and international level.

Carole Dieschbourg
Carole Dieschbourg

Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Luxembourg, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Carole Dieschbourg

Carole Dieschbourg served as a municipal councillor in Echternach from 2011 to 2013, when she was appointed to the government as Minister of the Environment. At the time she was the youngest member of the cabinet and the only Green Minister of the Environment in Europe. Carole represented the European Union during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, which coincided with Luxembourg’s Presidency of the EU Council. Her role was to ensure that the EU had a coordinated position during the conference. In the run-up to the COP21, she also represented the EU at many bilateral meetings and high-level conferences such as the Petersberg Climate Dialogue and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF).

Photo of Muna Duzdar
Muna Duzdar

Austrian Secretary of State for Diversity, Public Service and Digitalisation, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Muna Duzdar

A lawyer by training, Muna is passionate about politics. During her studies, she was the international secretary of Socialist Youth Austria and worked for the French Socialist Party. After graduation, she became a local councillor in the Vienna-Donaustadt district at the age of 23. In 2010, she joined the Austrian Federal Council where she became the Social Democrat spokesperson on foreign policy. Six years later, she was nominated as Secretary of State in the Office of the Federal Chancellery. Muna is also the President of the Palestinian-Austrian Society, a group that aims to deepen exchanges between Austrians and Palestinians and play an active part in Austrian society by promoting anti-racist, democratic and transnational programmes.

Colum Eastwood
Colum Eastwood

Leader, Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP), 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Colum Eastwood

Colum has been at the heart of the post-conflict success story in Derry, the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. He was only 27 years old when he was elected as the city’s mayor in 2010. In this position, he championed Derry as a city of culture and transformed its image. Throughout the years, Colum continuously stood against dissident republican violence and steadfastly called for an end to terrorist activities by armed groups. Following his election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011, Colum was appointed as the SDLP representative on the committee overseeing the work of First Minister and Deputy First Minister. He currently sits on the Committee for Communities, which plays a key role in debating and developing legislation.

Aaron Farrugia

Maltese Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Aaron Farrugia

Aaron was elected to the Maltese Parliament in June of 2017, and appointed Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue within the Ministry for European Affairs. Before his current position, Aaron ran the Malta Freeport, the first transhipment hub in the Mediterranean. He served as president of the Labour Youth Forum and was elected deputy mayor of Ta’ Xbiex in 2005. During the international financial crisis, he was appointed to a team of economic experts set up by the Young European Socialists and was elected as Education Secretary in the Maltese Labour Party’s Central Administration. Aaron also chaired the progressive think tank IDEAT, the party’s political foundation. In 2014, he founded the Anton Buttigieg Foundation, which seeks to promote social awareness in Malta, focusing on education as the primary tool for economic and social development.

Photo of Kaja Kallas
Kaja Kallas

Leader of the Estonian Reform Party, former member of the European Parliament and European Young Leader Alumna

Show more information on Kaja Kallas

A competition lawyer by profession, Kaja was elected Member of the Estonian Parliament and Chair of the Committee on Economic Affairs in 2011. After being elected to the European Parliament in 2014, she became a prominent proponent of innovation and frequently emphasised that regulations should not hinder the technological revolution. She authored five reports in the European Parliament, including an own-initiative report on the Digital Single Market. Kaja left the European sphere in 2018 to become leader of Estonia’s Liberal Reform Part and steered her party to victory in the 2019 national elections.

Photo of Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Parliamentary State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Chairwoman of the European Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament and European Young Leader Alumna

Show more information on Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Zanda started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council in 1998. She then worked at the Ministry of Regional Development before joining the Strategic Analysis Commission, where she advised Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on strategic planning. She was elected to the Latvian Parliament in 2011. During her mandate, she chaired the Committee on European Affairs and the Reform Party parliamentary group. In 2014, Zanda was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary in the Latvian government. Her role is to ensure cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament.

Photo of Eva Maydell (née Paunova)
Eva Maydell (née Paunova)

President of the European Movement International, Member of the European Parliament and European Young Leader Alumna

Show more information on Eva Maydell (née Paunova)

Eva Maydell’s priorities focus on enhancing skills-creation and the use of innovation and technologies, supporting entrepreneurs and investments in Europe. In the European Parliament, she is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy as well as the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. She is also a member of the Delegation for relations with Japan as well as the Delegation for relations with the US.

Eva is among the most active members of the European Parliament. Currently, she is EPP rapporteur on the Data Strategy. She was the main Parliament rapporteur on the Regulation on charges on cross-border payments as well as worked on several legislative files, part of the Digital Single Market Strategy – the e-Privacy Regulation, the Directive for the supply of digital content, the Regulation on portability, Digitising European industry and the European cloud initiative. She was also rapporteur for the EPP Group on the implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the New Skills Agenda and the Influence of technology on the future of the financial sector (FinTech).

Eva has been awarded the European Parliament’s MEP of the Year Award twice. She has also been
included in FT’s own ‘New Europe 100′ ranking of CEE’s emerging change-makers, European Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and others.

Julia Obermeier
Julia Obermeier

Member of Parliament, German Federal Parliament, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Julia Obermeier

Elected at the age of 29, Julia served as a Member of the German Federal Parliament from 2013-2017. Her political work focused on defence and security policies in the Committee on Defence, which plays an important part in the adoption of the defence budget and the procurement of materiel for the armed forces. In 2004, Julia joined the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU), the counterpart of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Bavaria. Julia started her career as a lecturer at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich before joining the office of the CSU Secretary General. She then held several political positions at a local level and various functions in the CSU. As a member of the CSU policy committee, she played an important role in drafting the new party manifesto.

Sébastien Pilard
Sébastien Pilard

Member, Pays de la Loire Regional Council, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Sébastien Pilard

Sébastien is a young businessman and entrepreneur. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Terminal du Grand Ouest (TGO), a port operations company in the Nantes-Saint Nazaire port area that covers bulk, container and general cargo activities. He manages a team of more than 150 employees at TGO. Sébastien was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s special representative on the economy and business during his campaign to win the Republican nomination for the 2017 presidential election. Sébastien is regional councillor in the Pays de la Loire region and will be an official candidate of the Republicans party in the upcoming 2017 legislative elections. He is also the co-founder of Sens Commun, a right-wing youth movement that defends conservative family values.

Virginia Raggi
Virginia Raggi

Mayor, City of Rome, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Virginia Raggi

Virginia is the first woman to become mayor of Rome after winning the 2016 municipal election with two-thirds of the vote. She is considered as a rising star of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), a party that she joined in 2011, two years before being elected to Rome’s city council. Called a talented debated by the Economist, Virginia vowed to end corruption, introduce a new level of transparency to the Roman government and revamp the city’s failing infrastructure. Virginia fiercely campaigned against the proposed amendment to the Italian constitution in the run-up to the 2016 constitutional referendum. A lawyer by training, she specialises in intellectual property and new technology.

Cezary Tomczyk
Cezary Tomczyk

Member of Parliament, Poland, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Cezary Tomczyk

Cezary began his political career on Sieradz’s city council in 2006. One year later, he was elected as a Member of the Polish Parliament at the age of 23. He sat in the Committee on National Defence and the Committee on EU Affairs in addition to chairing the Permanent Subcommittee on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020. In 2010, he was awarded the Medal of Merit for National Defence by the Polish Minister of National Defence in recognition of his services to the development and strengthening of the defence of his country. In 2015, he was appointed as a Secretary of State and spokesperson in the government of Ewa Kopacz. After the 2015 parliamentary elections, he was nominated as shadow Deputy Minister of National Defence for the Civic Platform.

Ozan Yanar
Ozan Yanar

Green City Counsellor in Helsinki, former Member of the National Parliament of Finland, 2017 European Young Leader

Show more information on Ozan Yanar

Ozan serves as City Councillor and Board Member of the Helsinki City Council and Vice Chairman of the Economic Development Sub-Committee. As a green politician and future economist, he is very interested in the future of work and green economic growth. At the age of 27, he was elected as a Member of the Finnish Parliament and in the past parliamentary term he advocated for social equality and the fight against discrimination. Ozan has worked at the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions, the Labour Institute for Economic Research and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Ozan has also served as the Co-Chair of the Federation of Green Youth and in 2017 he was on the 30 Under 30 list of Forbes.

Continue to Events

Events

Continue to Insights

Insights

view more insights
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.

Continue to Partners

Videos

view more
Track title

Category

00:0000:00
Stop playback
Video title

Category

Close

We use cookies to improve your online experience.
For more information, visit our privacy policy