40 UNDER 40 – European Young Leaders




 The European Young Leaders – « 40 UNDER 40 », health organised by EuropaNova and Friends of Europe, unhealthy is a unique, pills inventive and multi-stakeholder programme that aims to promote a European identity by engaging most promising individuals of the European Union’s in initiatives that will shape Europe’s future. The programme was launched in 2011, with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission.

The « European Young Leaders » represent the future of European leadership, coming from all around the continent, with a wide array of backgrounds like politics, business, civil society, arts and science, academia and the media.

Every year, once selected, the group of Young Leaders will have the opportunity to meet during two 3-day seminars that take place in symbolic European capitals, joined by decision-makers, stakeholders and actors of the European sphere, to discuss issues of common concern and put down the foundations of a dynamic network of opinion leaders. Seminars have already taken place in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Athens and Rome. The relaxed tone and out-of-the-box nature of the European Young Leaders programme have brought about salient and open discussions that have facilitated the development of a sustainable network of committed Europeans.


European Young Leaders – “40 UNDER 40” Selection Process for 2015 is CLOSED



Since its inception, we have gradually taken steps to strengthening and ensuring the quality, diversity and transparency of the European Young Leaders’ selection process. The selection process is highly competitive and its comprehensive nature ensures that exceptional individuals are identified and selected to participate. Every year, we receive many more candidacies than we can unfortunately select in a given year.

We aim to select European Young Leaders with diverse backgrounds in order to enable a cross-fertilization of ideas, in a neutral and practical exchange space, thus creating the basis of a new generation of engaged European leaders.

We are committed to providing equal opportunities to everyone. All applications will receive consideration and will be submitted to the selection process criteria. The selection will be made without regard to, and there will be no discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, membership or non-membership in an employee organization.

There are several ways for an individual to be considered and integrated in the selection process of the programme. Every year, we centralize all candidatures identified and sent by our European partners. The selection committee will choose amoung 40 candidates.


In order to ensure the diversity, transparency and professionalism of the selection, a selection committee meets every year to choose the following year’s selection. The selection committee presided this year by Enrico Letta, former Prime Minister of Italy, is composed of: an emblematic President, a representative of EuropaNova, a representative of Friends of Europe, a representative of the cultural sector and a representative of the business sector.



Candidates must be between 30 and 40 years of age

Candidates must be from a member country of the European Union

Candidates are evaluated based on their potential to attain the highest levels of their chosen profession

Candidates must have a record of important achievements and outstanding professional experiences

Candidates are evaluated based on their ability to contribute to the enrichment of the programme as a whole

Candidates must be committed to serve society at large through noteworthy contributions

Candidates are required to be fluent in English as it is the working language of the programme



The application process starts by sending to the organizers a CV (including the date of birth), a recent high-resolution photo and a cover letter outlining the applicant’s relevant achievements or experiences that make him/her a viable candidate and highlighting the means he/she will contribute to the European Young Leaders network and the development of the programme.

Applications are accepted all year long via application through the programme’s website or by sending in their candidacy to the programme managers. The deadline to be considered for the following selection is November 28th of the previous year.



An individual can be nominated to the European Young Leaders – “40 UNDER 40” programme in several manners.


  • Institutional partners

A wide network of European organisations are called upon to send in recommendations of high-potential individuals to the organisers. These recommendations have to strictly abide the above-mentioned selection criteria.


  • Pre-selection by outstanding personalities

In most of the Member States of the European Union, a limited selected numbers of outstanding experimented personalities from different sectors (business, politics, media science and art) will be asked to contribute and to indicate us young leaders that should be put in the selection process, because of their potential.


  • Alumni

Every year, the alumni network of the European Young Leaders programme is called upon to send in recommendations to the organisers. Given their experience of the programme, we consider the alumni European Young Leaders as most knowledgeable about who is the best fit for such a leadership programme. We welcome nominations from alumni all year long.


  • Benchmarking

The organisers continuously benchmark their networks for high-potential candidates. Some individuals might be approached directly by them and be invited to apply to the programme.




Applications All year long –  28 November 2014
Nominations All year long – 28 November 2014
Selection committee meeting 5th December 2014
Announcement of 2015 selection December 2014