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Meet the next generation of young leaders destined to shape Europe’s future in our new EYL40 Class of 2022.

From champions of the arts and tech entrepreneurs, to leading activists and Olympic athletes, meet the new young leaders as they are revealed each day over the next two weeks. Follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.


Bold leadership, ground-breaking ideas, unparalleled passion …

We’ve learned time and again that the challenges of the 21st century and of our ever complex world, cannot be addressed using the rulebooks of the past. The world is screaming for a new type of leadership and a renewed social contract in which the private sector, local and multilateral institutions, a citizens can collaborate and be the drivers of change.

Today’s leaders may look back in time for inspiration, but they must lead with innovation.

The European Young Leaders represent an alternative infrastructure of leadership, a new generation of leaders able to inspire action and generate change. Their passion, their diversity of backgrounds and opinions, and their innovative thinking together create the right formula for generating fresh ideas to build a more forward-thinking Europe.

Our European leaders provide alternative perspectives from outside the institutional and political frameworks to EU decisionmakers writing the rule book.

The European Young Leaders also play the essential role of helping to reconnect people with and rebuild trust in politics by engaging a wider community around key EU policy issues that need a whole economy whole society approach to progress fast. They are scientists, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, astronomers. They are citizens and their thinking is not bound by multilateral or frameworks, or burocracy.

They help take Europe out of Brussels, in their own countries and cities. They are facilitating citizens’ participation in the creation of a more equal, innovative and inclusive Europe and help build a European identity.

The programme in the next years will take a new localism lens, bringing together these thinkers and leaders to act on some of the key issues affecting Europe’s future: the green and digital transformation, strengthening of our democracy, relations with our neighbours, increasing power sharing, and building a more gender and diverse Europe.

Succeeding in these policies together and getting more citizens engaged in European elections will be our litmus test.


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

Leading view

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

Leading view

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 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Mariya Gabriel

Having previously served as the commissioner for digital economy and society, Mariya currently serves as the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Digital Economy and Society. Mariya is a former member of the European Parliament, in which role she was active as both the head of the Bulgarian European People’s Party (EPP) delegation and vice-president of the EPP party. She was also involved in a wide range of parliamentary committees, having served as the EPP Group coordinator for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), and as a member of the committees on agriculture and rural development (AGRI); civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE); petitions (PETI); and the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM). The 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 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jesse Klaver

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

Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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

Military Attachée for the Embassy of Germany to the United States of America and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Helena Linder-Jess

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

Director General for Digitalisation and Innovation at the German ministry for Health and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Gottfried Ludewig

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

Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Sammy Mahdi

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

President of the European Parliament and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Roberta Metsola

Roberta is the youngest ever and third woman President of the European Parliament. Prior to this, she served as Vice-President of the European Parliament, also as a member on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, among several other parliamentary committees and delegations. A lawyer by profession, Roberta is a member of the European People’s Party Group (EPP) and among the first female members of parliament to represent Malta. She is a two-time recipient of Parliament Magazine’s MEP Award, receiving recognition for her work on justice and civil liberties, and hosted the awards ceremony in 2017.

Brune Poirson
Brune Poirson

Chief Sustainability Officer at Accor, former French secretary of state for the ecological and inclusive transition and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Brune Poirson

Brune is the Chief Sustainability Officer and a Member of the Executive Committee at Accor, a multinational hospitality company. Her role includes defining, driving and monitoring commitments, strategy and rollout of Accor’s plans in relation to sustainable development. She is also responsible for the Accor Solidarity and ALL Heartists endowment funds and additionally serves on the Board of Trustees of Fondation de la Mer. During her tenure as a member of the French National Assembly, Brune served as the secretary of state to the French Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition and became the first French minister elected as vice-president of the United Nations Environment Assembly. She was previously the director of sustainability and social responsibility for South Asia at Veolia, where projects focused on drinking water distribution in the slums of Indian megacities, and a coordinator of sustainability projects at the French Development Agency in New Delhi.

Lia Quartapelle
Lia Quartapelle

Member of the Italian parliament, Research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Lia Quartapelle

Lia is a rising star in Italian politics. She is the Leader of the Democratic Party in the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs, as well as the Head of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the National Secretariat. In her work, Lia focuses on human rights, developing economies and Africa. In addition to serving as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council, Lia is the President of the Italian Chapter of the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and of the Italian section of the Women in International Security (WIIS) network. As a Research Fellow, Lia coordinates the activities of Africa programme at ISPI and lectures on policies for development cooperation at the University of Pavia. She has published a number of reports and articles on, Italian development aid strategies, as well as economist development and aid effectiveness in Africa. Prior to her current roles, Lia worked for the Mozambique government as an economist and policy development analyst.

Nasima Razmyar
Nasima Razmyar

Finnish Politician, former deputy mayor of Helsinki and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Nasima Razmyar

Nasima is an Afghan-Finnish politician. Until recently she served as 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 and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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”.”

Continue to Selection process

Selection process

CALL FOR THE EYL CLASS OF 2023 APPLICATIONS IS NOW OPEN UNTIL 30 MAY 2022

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 a new generation of European leaders from all over the continent and various 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 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 1983).
  • 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 of the two EYL seminars during the programme year.

Please click HERE for the detailed Selection Guidelines 2023.

Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at eyl40@friendsofeurope.org.

*References to Kosovo here 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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