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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 2020-2021 Class of European Young Leaders:


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Joss Garman on the climate crisis: how bad is it (bad!) and can we get out of it (yes!)?

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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 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

Secretary of State for European affairs in the French government, 2019 European Young Leader

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Clément was appointed Secretary of State for European affairs in the French government in July 2020. Before that, he served as the Europe and G20 advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, shadowing him during meetings with other European state heads. A passionate Europhile, his presentations on Europe even when he was still in school were so accomplished that they were widely shared. Clément became Macron’s Europe advisor when Macron was still economy minister. He helped craft the French government’s 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 Marche campaign for European Union reform were clearly influenced by his advisor.

Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen

Speaker and MP of the Lithuanian Parliament, Chess Grandmaster, 2019 European Young Leader

Show more information on Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen

Viktorija was appointed Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament in November 2020 and also currently serves as a Member of the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on European Affairs. She was first elected as a Member of the Lithuanian Parliament in 2015 and became Chair of the Liberal Movement party in 2018. Prior to her career in politics, Viktorija was a professional chess player. Most notably, Viktorija received the Grandmaster title by FIDE in 2010. She has also won the European Women’s Championship and is a two-time Lithuanian gold medalist at the Women’s Chess Olympiads. Viktorija took the decision to enter politics following the realisation that she wanted to contribute to society on a more political level.

Luke Graham
Luke Graham

Special advisor on the Union to the UK government and 2019 European Young Leader

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In his current position as special advisor to the UK government under Boris Johnson, Luke works on fostering greater unity amongst the different countries of the United Kingdom. He was previously a member of parliament for the Conservative Party and served as the parliamentary private secretary to the Cabinet Office. Before entering politics, Luke 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. 

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

Former member of the European Parliament, former lord mayor of Sheffield and European Young Leader Alumnus

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Magid was formerly the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. He is 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 during the rise of the far-right party UKIP. In his inaugural portrait, Magid squatted on a balustrade wearing green Dr. Martens, an image that went viral on social media. In 2019, Magid was elected to the European Parliament where he remained a member until Britain’s exit from the EU in January 2020.

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

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

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Martina is the former 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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Events

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Selection process

The European Young Leaders programme is a unique, inventive, and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging the continent’s most promising talents in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future.

The European Young Leaders represent the most promising European leadership from all over the continent and with a wide variety of backgrounds including: politics, business, civil society, academia, arts, science and the media.

The programme acts as a forum for those who have already established themselves at the forefront of their professions to meet, discuss and collaborate with their counterparts from other fields of expertise. Previous candidates include: government ministers, CEOs, Michelin-starred chefs, international film directors, and high profile journalists.

Since the launch of the programme, 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.

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.

SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age (born on or after 1 January 1982);
  • Candidates must be a national of an EU member state, the UK or of one of the 6 Balkan states currently on the path towards EU integration (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia);
  • Candidates should have established themselves at 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.

To be considered for the 2022 selection process, all applications and nominations must be sent to: eyl40@friendsofeurope.org

Application deadline: Monday, 15 March 2021

To read in detail about the selection process, please click here

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