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 Fjoralba Caka
Fjoralba Caka

former Albanian deputy minister of justice, 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Fjoralba Caka

Fjoralba is the former Albanian minister of Justice covering European integration and anti-corruption policies. Having started her career as an academic teaching EU Law, she has maintained an ongoing cooperation with civil society organisations. She also served as a lawyer on issues related to strategic litigation and offered legal aid for people in need and for marginalised communities. In addition, she has led projects focusing on youth and national anti-corruption campaigns, including “Fighting Corruption in the Higher Education System” and “Bookworm Project – outdoors mini-library”.

Mila Carovska
Mila Carovska

Deputy President of the North Macedonian government and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Mila Carovska

Mila is a North Macedonian politician that has been in government since 2017. Mila is an avid promoter of human rights whose professional career to date has been marked by a commitment to social work on behalf of the most vulnerable and threatened citizens, whether it be Roma, disadvantaged youth, drug addicts, victims of domestic violence and so on. Projects she has managed over the years include organising drama workshops with children housed in institutions, hosting educational workshops, offering consultations for drug users and their families, and conducting field research. Mila has used her platform as Minister to advocate for gender equality, the elimination of violence against women, and anti-discrimination.

Photo of Thomas Dermine
Thomas Dermine

Researcher, political advisor and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Thomas Dermine

Thomas is a Belgian researcher and political advisor, currently heading l’Institut Emile Vandervelde, a research centre for the Francophone Social Democrat Party (PS). Well involved in the Belgian political environment, Thomas is also the Chief of Staff to Paul Magnette, chairman of the social democrat party. Aside to his political work, Thomas previously held a managing role at CATCH, a public start-up aimed at coordinating and accelerating local projects in and around Charleroi, an economically modest area in Belgium. Thomas is also an affiliate of the Harvard Government Performance Lab where he leads research on Social Impact and a lecturer at Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Karoline-Edtstadler
Karoline Edtstadler

Austrian Minister for Europe and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Karoline Edtstadler

Karoline is an Austrian lawyer and politician who has been serving in the government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz since 2020. She has held a number of senior positions at the European level, including at the European Court of Human Rights, as State Secretary and most recently as ÖVP Head of Delegation in the European Parliament. In her current portfolio, she has boldly called for European treaty change, to ensure a clearer separation of powers between the EU and national governments. She has also made a name for herself by combating anti-Semitism and calling for a common European asylum system.

Jasna Gabric
Jasna Gabric

Mayor of Trbovlje, Slovenia and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jasna Gabric

Jasna is the mayor of Trbovlje, a former mining town in Slovenia. A member of the municipal council since the age of 25, she was the youngest Slovenian mayor when elected. Unemployment in her town has fallen by almost half thanks to her role in implementing a successful incubator for start-ups. Her effort also focussed on reforming the municipality to make it more efficient and responsive. These achievements have received widespread recognition, in particular from the City Mayors Foundation which named her Mayor of Distinction. She is seen as a role model for young female politicians.

Qëndron Kastrati
Qëndron Kastrati

Mayor of Kamenica, Kosovo and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Qëndron Kastrati

Qëndron is the youngest mayor in Kosovo, having been elected to lead the town of Kamenica at only 29. He is known for his progressive approach, having a predominantly female cabinet. As mayor, he has been resolute in his mission to make his town a genuinely multi-ethnic community and to bridge existing ethnic divides. He reformed the local education system and created a joint multi-ethnic school for Albanians, Serbs and Roma children. He has also walked the talk by installing translation booths in the municipal assembly, so Serbs can participate fully in meetings.

Ivan Lesay
Ivan Lesay

Co-Founder and CEO of Slovak Investment Holding, fiction writer and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Ivan Lesay

Ivan is a political scientist, economic advisor and writer from Slovakia. Shortly after joining the Slovak Ministry of Finance as advisor to the minister, Ivan instigated the setup of the Slovak Investment Holding (SIH). Since being appointed its CEO in January 2017, Ivan has led this state-owned fund in investing in strategic sectors of the economy, and driving economic development throughout the country. He previously served as deputy finance minister, and held leading roles during the Slovak Presidency in the EU Council. Ivan is a keen writer and has seen the publication of a number of his works, including a popular study of the 2008 Financial Crisis he co-authored and a children’s book.

Domna Michailidou
Domna Michailidou

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Greece and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Domna Michailidou

Domna is a Greek deputy minister and economist working on growth strategy, capital markets and public finance. She was previously reforms’ advisor to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Leader of New Democracy and Greek Prime Minister. Domna has advised several governmental and non-governmental institutions including the UN Development Programme, the British Council and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). She has also worked for the OECD in Paris and Athens as an economist and competition expert. In addition to her governmental work, Domna teaches economics courses at Cambridge and University College London and has written a number of publications and books.

Tomas Petříček
Tomáš Petříček

Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Tomáš Petříček

Tomáš is a leading politician from the Czech Social Democratic Party. A long-time activist, he quickly climbed through the ranks, rising from MEP assistant to deputy minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his current portfolio, Tomáš has gained a reputation as a firm supporter of the European project and a strong advocate for human rights. He has notably been vocal about the Jamal Khashoggi assassination, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights. He has also called for the adoption of the UN Global Migration Pact, to ensure safe international immigration.

Monica Semedo
Monica Semedo

Member of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Monica Semedo

Monica is a Luxembourgish TV presenter and politician, and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2019. Having worked as a journalist and TV presenter for over two decades, Monica is well-known amongst Luxembourg’s public. Having won a seat in the European Parliament for Luxembourg’s Democratic Party and serving as a full member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Monica has expressed her intent to prioritise equal opportunities for children and young people in particular as well as an equal platform for entrepreneurs. Monica has been actively engaged in charity work, including for cancer research and as a former ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages and Fairtrade.

Małgorzata Tracz
Małgorzata Tracz

Polish MP, President of Poland’s Green Party and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Małgorzata Tracz

Małgorzata is a member of Poland’s Green Party and one of the first of her party to be elected to the Polish National Parliament. As president of the Green Party, she has successfully promoted a stronger climate agenda and has spread awareness of environmental issues amongst Polish citizens. A vocal activist for the rights of women and minorities, she has regularly denounced rule of law issues in her country. Małgorzata is also seen as a champion for cleaner air, notably through her actions of pushing for the reduction in smog in Polish cities.

Vlad Voiculescu
Vlad Voiculescu

Politician, economist and patient advocate and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Vlad Voiculescu

Vlad is a Romanian politician, health policy expert and patient advocate. After pursuing a career in finance, Vlad became active in public service, serving as the Romanian Finance Minister’s Chief of Staff and then as Minister of Health in the Dacian Cioloș government. Since 2008, Vlad has been involved in patient advocacy, both at the national and European level. He is the founder of an international network of volunteers that helped over 2,500 cancer patients receive essential medicines that were missing in Romania, a story that featured in the HBO documentary The Network’. Vlad is also the Co-Founder of MagiCAMP, which seeks to provide support to children diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses. For this work, the European Parliament awarded Vlad its ‘European Citizen’s Prize.’

Lea Wermelin
Lea Wermelin

Danish Minister for the Environment and 2020 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Lea Wermelin

Lea is the Danish Minister for the Environment in the Mette Frederiksen government. She describes herself as a ‘classic Social Democrat’ who strongly believes in equality and the power of community. As the daughter of a primary school teacher, she is passionate about the role of education as an instrument for social change. Lea became a passionate environmental advocate growing up in Bornholm, a community-tight Danish island with leading policies on circular economy, waste reduction and recycling. She has been involved in politics for the past decade, originally serving as a Board Member of the youth wing of the Social Democratic party. She has also worked in Tanzania on local democracy projects.

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