Big ideas to shape a better Europe – PART II

We asked the European Young Leaders to share one big idea to shape a better future for Europe. Here’s part 2.

Establish a European community appreciation day
By Kamilla Sultanova, Owner of ConnectUz and EYL40

One of the best outcomes of COVID was the immense power of communities to unite citizens despite the crises of health, climate and social justice. From Finland to France to Malta, cafes, artists, startups, businesses, media, cities, NGOs, individuals showed up to give hope and help. European values were made visible with each support network for resilience, equality and dignity. A European Community Appreciation day would celebrate the trust-building force of individuals and organizations in enabling communities to thrive in unity across Europe.

Work to establish a sustainable human presence in space
By Guillem Anglada Escudé, Reader in Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London and EYL40 and Alfredo Munoz, Founder and CEO of ABIBOO and EYL40

Beyond the many issues in the governance of Earth orbits, an important long-term goal is to establish permanent human beyond Earth. The major geopolitical actors (US and China) are gearing up while the EU remains stagnant in bureaucracy. Besides the vast physical resources of the Solar System, planning sustainable space settlements has enormous inspirational value, and it is a sandbox for solutions to urgent matters in all sectors. The EU should promote the development of Earth-based demonstrator experiments, fostering local economies, while introducing a new generation to all aspects of a functioning society with the sight put on the stars.

One European a day /and making the 9th of May the Day of Inspiring Europeans
Anne-Solène Rolland, Director of national museums at the French Ministry of Culture and EYL40

Europe needs to be embodied by inspiring figures who live as Europeans and make the Europe a reality that can inspire the youth in every country. This year, a French scientist, Emmanuelle Charpentier, working in Germany and formerly in Sweden was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, showing how science has to be made together and with EU help. Why not have such a figure for every day or every month, and highlighting them on the 9th of May to show that Europe is real and inspiring ? Scientists, artists, intellectuals, business men and women, politicians dedicated to Europe : we need to hear more about all these amazing lives that Europe made possible.

Highlight the EU’s biggest achievements on Europe Day
Ivan Stefunko, Managing Partner and Investment Director at Neulogy Ventures and EYL40

The EU has much to be proud of and a bright future to look forward to. The block is strong, innovative, progressive and is a role model for democracy, sustainability and human rights globally. What it needs to face the many challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to technological leaps and undemocratic regimes is unity. And the most important factor for success is strong public support. Let’s join forces and help Europe be more self- confident. Let’s highlight the best achievements our union has achieved every Europe Day and remind Europeans how much we have to be proud of.

Unite around energy transformation through the European Renewable Energy Community
By Małgorzata Tracz, Polish MP, President of Poland’s Green Party and EYL40

The combined effort of all European countries is especially needed to address the climate crisis and the energy transformation – the most serious issues that await us. To successfully confront those challenges, Europe stands in need of ambitious objectives as well as common instruments. The European Renewable Energy Community (ERENE) can offer an adequate response to these challenges and help to answer Europe’s needs. ERENE is an opportunity to jointly lead a fair European energy transformation and to make Europe a pioneer in energy supply. By uniting around energy transformation, we can transform the future of the next generation and the future of Europe.

Embrace Lifespan Development
Farid Tabarki, Founder and Director of Studio Zeitgeist and EYL40

It may be lonely at the top, but life is hardest in the middle. The demise of Joe (or Jane) Blog may well also be the demise of our current political economy. Has the optimism been short-lived? Can only one generation count on upward mobility and the white picket fence that goes along with it? This current crisis must be used to finally embrace Lifespan Development. Only by making sure all citizens are able to keep on developing themselves, can the sustainable growth of our societies continue. This will not only lower the stress levels of the middle class but will also prepare our societies for the continuous changes we can expect to see stem from the vast technological advances of the coming decades.

Take the lead in building an innovative yet affordable life science sector
Nina Rawal, Founder of Emerging Health Ventures and EYL40

Most people worldwide lack access to innovative medicines. Too many have come to accept the current innovation model as the only one possible, and that the solution is to hope for big pharma to lower their prices. But what if another model is possible, one where companies develop affordable products to begin with? As healthcare demands increase and countries’ ability to finance them decreases, the need for affordability is greater than ever. Europe, with its generous science funding, innovation eco-system, and single payor model, is uniquely positioned to take the lead in building an innovative yet affordable life science sector.

Promote a digital Alliance between Europe and Africa through an intercontinental “Startup Act”
By Samir Abdelkrim, Founder of EMERGING Valley, Author, Entrepreneur and EYL40

Although Europe has some of the best scientists and talents on the planet, it is lagging behind in the digital race against its American and Asian neighbours. African tech embodies and celebrates the very same humanist values that Europe seeks to embrace and protect. The industry’s innovations have been born out of necessity and offer inclusive, sustainable and resilient solutions. By joining forces to build an intercontinental Startup Act based on mutual aid between entrepreneurs and ecosystems, Africa and Europe can promote a new type of digital, one that would be meaningful and built around the needs of the people.

Adopt the Bauhaus principles to guide Europe into the decade ahead
By João Wengorovius Meneses, Secretary General of BSCD Portugal and EYL40

In her first State of the Union address, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, voiced her support for the establishment of a “new European Bauhaus”, calling it “a space for co-creation where architects, artists, students, engineers, and designers work together”. The EU Green Deal, at the top of the European agenda, must be accompanied by a huge cultural shift. The Bauhaus is inspirational because it was built around five very important principles: interdisciplinarity, frugality, social purpose, creativity, and identity. These should be the guiding principles of Europe in the decade ahead.

Make Erasmus a requirement for all
By Katarzyna Anna Nawrot, Member of Polish Academy of Sciences Committee for Future Studies Poland 2000 Plus, Author of the book “The Rise of Megacities” and EYL40

What could be better than confronting your perceptions and learning about your prejudices? Erasmus should be expanded and made mandatory. It should also serve as a role model for the rest of the world of how to bring people together, challenge prejudices and develop a more open minded young generation.

Reevaluate Europe’s priorities in the post COVID world
By Danae Bezantakou, CEO of Navigator Shipping LTD and EYL40

Europe was, is and should remain at the world’s crossroad of democracy, culture, science, and innovation. However, the pandemic proved to all of us that nothing on earth is irreplaceable or unstoppable. It is therefore crucial that we try to remain as independent as possible, doing our best to ensure the sustainability of our planet. It’s time to unite and re-evaluate Europe’s priorities and focus on crisis management, technological evolution, adaptability, soft skills development, youth empowerment, integration, and geopolitics.


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