The European Young Leaders (EYL40) seminar in Malta was all about solutions. The main problem is clear: a populist surge threatens not only Europe’s post-World War II integration, but the very foundations of the Western liberal-democratic order.
How to stem that surge, present credible alternatives for voters wooed by far-right siren calls and re-kindle enthusiasm for Europe’s embattled unity project, were the core issues over the three days of debate. Young Leaders set themselves the task of broadening that fightback, generating ideas – from empowering citizens through participatory democracy, to values-based social-media campaigns – to wrestle back the initiative from the new nationalists.
Under the heading “Re-Kindling the Fire”, the Malta gathering was the second for the 2018 cohort who come from 25 countries and bring experience in fields ranging from politics, industry and civil society, to science, journalism and classical music.
Themes covered in the debates and roundtables, attended by almost 40 past-and-present Young Leaders in Malta, included healthcare in the digital age, housing inequality, the future of journalism, women in tech and prospects for colonising space. As with the previous seminar, in Warsaw last March, a public session gave Maltese citizens and visiting Young Leaders a chance to brainstorm on the key question of how Europe can re-engage with voters.
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