Portrait of President Tajani
"The Young Political Leaders programme symbolises the European Parliament's support for future generations committed to working for peace, democracy and human rights outside the EU."

Antonio Tajani
President of the European Parliament

Young Political Leaders from the MENA Region, Brussels on 3 May 2017

Young PoliticalLeaders from MENA Region

Following a request from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EP's Young Political Leaders programme welcomed 10 participants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The participants came from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan as well as from Europe. The participants are part of the Young Med Voices Plus,a pioneering youth initiative launched by Ms Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, in order to enhance and concretely support dialogue with young Mediterranean voices.

The group began their programme by attending a workshop organized by the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) on "sectarianismin Middle East and North Africa", in which they actively participated. During this session the young participants were greeted by the Vice-Chair of the AFET Committee, Mr. Primdahl Vistisen.

The young leaders then had the opportunity to follow a combined session with the young Parliamentarians from Tunisia, chaired by the YPL lead-MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, in the frameworkof the EP's Tunisia week. The panel discussion was focused on strengthening youth engagement in political life and on bridging the divide between civil society and Parliaments in their own countries.

During the programme, the YoungMed Voices Plus participants also had the opportunity to discover more about the role and responsibilities of the European Parliament. The group expressed a strong interest in the EP's innovative approach to democracy support activities in a world of cultural and religious difference during a discussion with MEP Julie Ward.

They also had the chance to be welcome by the EP's President Antonio Tajani and Vice-President Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, who encouraged the young leaders to constantly pursue their goals and make sure the elders in their communities hear their voice.

The YPL event once again provided an important opportunity for the young leaders to engage in a constructive dialogue between them and with some MEPs, thus encouraging the EP to continue its support for civil society and youth in the world.

The participants urged the EP to continue developing its YPL programme and activities in support of future leaders. The European External Action Service with the Young Med Voices Plus participants expressed their desire to engage in further possible youth-related activities.    

Young Political Leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan, 6-8 March 2017

photo of young political leaders from Aremenia and Azerbaijan

The Young Political Leaders programme for participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan took place in Brussels from 6 to 8 March. For the first time, 18 young participants from both Armenia and Azerbaijan gathered at the EP's premises.

This event represented an opportunity not only to engage in a focused and sometimes lively exchange on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the EP's role, but also to get a deeper insight on the EU institutions and key policy areas. The participants shared their experience on various topics, such as the EU's approach to conflict prevention, the role of civil society in peace-building efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh and the role of political parties in the democratic process.

During the three-day programme, the participants shared their experiences with high level MEPs, including EP President Antonio Tajani, Vice-President Mr Ryszcard Czarnecki, Mr David McAllister Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Sajjad KARIM Chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia,  and Mrs Harms the Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. The participants were also welcomed by the lead-MEP for Young Political Leaders programme, Mr Fabio Massimo Castaldo.

Furthermore, the Young Political Leaders engaged in a role play organized by the European Institute of Peace, during which they have been involved in a fictitious situation which needed to be peacefully resolved. The exercise was designed to raise awareness on mediation skills as well as create a momentum for talks and mutual understanding of the 'others' perceptions about the issues at stake.

Because of the sensitivities around the "not-so-frozen conflict", a strong accent was given to the importance of building trust on both sides in order to start some constructive dialogue.

The participants showed their commitment and energy to engage in respectful dialogue on the complex regional dynamics as well as their encouragement to the EP to consider follow-up activities, including in the region, thus enhancing the YPL value as a tool to encourage peaceful dialogue among young leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Young Political Leaders from Israel and Palestine, 28-30 November 2016

young political leaders from israel and palestine

The Young Political Leaders event included eighteen politically engaged activists from Israel and Palestine and took place in Brussels from 28to 30 November 2016. The event provided a space for participants to better understand the European Union and its institutions and specifically to engage in dialogue with Members of the European Parliament, the EU Special Representative, the European External Action Service, the European Commission and Civil Society Organisations. As the Middle East Peace Process remains a high priority for the European Parliament, the participants also shared their experiences and visions on the future of the conflict with their European counter-parts.The Young Political Leaders also participated in a scenario-based workshop at the European Institute of Peace where they could practice their mediation and dialogue skills and have feedback from the experts at the institute.

Moreover, the participants had an opportunity to discuss their experience with President Schulz, Mr Brok, Chair of the AFET Committee and Mr Gentilini, EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace. The Young Political Leaders were welcomed to the European Parliament during the AFET Committee meeting.

The YPL continues to build on the successful achievements of previous EP initiatives to support the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue amongst young leaders and the European Parliament.

Young Political Leaders Maghreb, 11-13 July 2016

photo of young politicial leaders from the Maghreb

The event held in Brussels from11 to 13 July 2016 focused on the enhancement of the role of young leaders in the five Maghreb countries in policy and politics at a national and regional level.

The three-day programme for the sixteen political party activists and civil society representatives from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia dedicated each day to a specific theme,including an introduction to the European Parliament and non-governmental organisations dealing with the Maghreb region, dialogue with young Members of the European Parliament, the EU approach to conflict prevention and a focus on peaceful dialogue and human right issues within the region.

A strong emphasis was given to the importance of connecting young political activists from non-EU countries with each other, enhancing the cooperation within the region, as well as making concrete proposals to policy makers on priority youth issues.

At the conclusion of the event, a "Joint Statement - Young Political Leaders Maghreb 2016" was written by the participants, endorsing the value of the Young Political Leaders Programme and proposing four specific recommendations to the EU.

Western Balkans Youth Conference, 4 July 2016, Paris

With the aim to bring together 150 young people from the EU and WesternBalkans countries to engage them in discussions on topics such as education,mobility, employment and entrepreneurship, engagement in political and sociallife and media, the WesternBalkans Youth Conference, organised by theEuropean Commission and theGovernment of the French Republic, took place on 4 July 2016 in Paris.

The event included the launch of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans (RYCO) as well as an opportunity for young leaders from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia to network and make concrete proposals to policy makers on priority youth issues. These priorities and proposals included peaceful dialogue and regional reconciliation, encouraging greater youth participation in democratic life,bridging the gap between political institutions (including parliaments) and the youth, access to independent media and opportunities for vocational and educational training for young people.

In the framework of the Young Political Leaders Programme the EP's engagement in the event formed part of its commitment to the Western Balkans and the active participation of lead-MEP Fabio Massimo CASTALDO in the high level panel of political leaders was widely appreciated by the participants.


Young Political Leaders: EU - Eastern Partnership, 8-11 December 2015

The Eastern Partnership event took place from 8 to 11 December 2015 in Brussels and welcomed participants from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Russia and the EU.

Following the success of the 2014 and 2013 Eastern Partnership Young Leaders Forum, the 2015 event was designed to offer participants a rewarding experience and an opportunity to interact both with EU stakeholders and amongst themselves. High-level speakers from but also beyond the EU world discussed with the participants issues of concern and problematic realities in the EU. Topics included EU-Ukraine relations, the EU's Eastern Partnership Policies and sustainable democracy.

The Eastern Partnership event was an intensive programme, allowing participants to meet and interact with more than 30 interlocutors during their 3,5 days in Brussels, including Members, representatives from academia, civil society, think tanks and other EU institutions such as the European Commission and the European External Action Service.

Young Political Leaders: EU - Middle East Forum, 30 November - 3 December 2015

The Middle East event was initially designed as an encounter of young political, business and civil society leaders from Palestine, Israel and the EU. Since 2012, it has been opened up to the neighbouring region, and in 2015 we also had participants from Egypt and Jordan.

For the European Parliament, the Forum completes a wide range of political activities towards promoting peace in the Middle East. It is meant to take advantage of the EU as a neutral environment, where Israelis, Palestinians and their neighbours can share their concerns and establish contacts with their European counterparts. It also aims to establish a growing network of future leaders and to trigger follow-up initiatives to be developed by the participants. The Forum's objective is obviously small compared to the enormous challenge of solving the Middle East conflict. However, it is not less ambitious, because for the European Parliament, investing in young leaders means a crucial investment in human capital.


Visit of Young Political Leaders from the Republic of the Sudan

Following a request from the EU Delegation in Khartoum, an ad hoc programme was developed for a group of 12 Young Political Leaders from the Republic of the Sudan, between 13 and 17 April 2015, in Brussels.

This successful initiative brought together future decision-makers from different political backgrounds, allowing them to learn about the European experience of developing a pluralistic democratic culture, as well as to reflect on the democratic developments occurring within their own country.

An ambitious programme, participants discussed many key themes with Members of the European Parliament, including peace, democracy, human rights, coalition building, religious tolerance, and gender equality. They also shared experiences as to the role of young political activists and political parties in democracy building, learned about European experiences of state break-ups, and discussed peaceful methods of conflict resolution and reconciliation.

The visit was overseen by Ms. Linda McAvan, Co-Chair of the Democracy Support and Elections Coordination Group (DEG), and was jointly organised by the European Parliamentary Mediation Service (EPMS) and the EU Delegation in Khartoum.

Young Leaders Forum: Eastern Partnership - EU, 8-11 December 2014

The Eastern Partnership event, held in Brussels between 8 and 11 December 2014, consisted of several round table events where participants working in politics, academia, business or civil society got an opportunity to meet and engage in discussions among themselves or with Members of the European Parliament, representatives of other EU Institutions, experts and external guest speakers. Participants came from both the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.




Young Leaders Forum: Middle East - EU, 1-4 December 2014

The event that took place in Brussels between 1 and 4 December 2014 was open to young leaders working in politics, business, and civil society. 27 participants came from Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the European Union.

Utilising the neutral environment of the EU, the objective of the Forum was to allow participants to share their mutual concerns on issues of peace and security, and establish contacts with their European counterparts.

The Middle East Forum was initially organised for young leaders from Palestine and Israel, with its first meeting taking place in 2008. As a result of the success of this meeting, the European Parliament decided in 2009 to continue this engagement, organising an annual event. Eventually, this event was extended also to young leaders from Egypt, Jordan and Syria.



Forum Jeunes Leaders: EU - Maghreb, 10-12 novembre 2014

Un des objectifs du Forum était de constituer un vivier de futurs leaders qui s'organisent en réseau. Dans ce but, cette deuxième édition a réuni des participants de 2013 et des nouveaux participants. Le Forum était consacré aux thèmes suivants:
  • Un échange sur l'actualité, notamment l'impact de la crise libyenne et le nouveau leadership de l'UE
  • Quelles actions pour impulser la transition démocratique dans les pays du Maghreb?
  • Migrations et mobilité

A la demande des participants, cette édition était très axée sur les actions concrètes que les jeunes leaders pourront mener ensemble. Les participants avaient ainsi l'occasion de dresser un état des lieux des projets formulés en 2013 et d'examiner de nouvelles idées projets en termes de faisabilité, soutiens et synergies possibles.

Pourquoi?

Les mouvements sociaux et révolutionnaires que la Méditerranée connaît depuis 2011 ont impulsé au Parlement européen l'idée de réunir de jeunes leaders du Maghreb et de l'Union européenne pour une rencontre à Bruxelles. Les jeunes ont joué un rôle primordial dans la mobilisation des sociétés pour formuler leurs revendications légitimes. Or, au lendemain des révolutions, ces mêmes jeunes peinent à se voir accorder leur place comme acteurs du changement. Les accueillir au Parlement européen devra avant tout permettre de créer des liens, d'abord entre les participants, mais aussi avec les responsables politiques.

L'Europe perçoit le Maghreb davantage à travers ses communautés d'immigrés que par le contact direct avec les leaders maghrébins de demain. A son tour, les pays du Maghreb ont le regard plus tourné vers l'Europe que vers les réalités de leurs voisins pourtant si similaires et complémentaires.

Le Forum a réuni des jeunes leaders de part et d'autre de la Méditerranée à un stade de leur carrière qui leur permettra de s'exprimer encore en toute liberté, affranchis des contraintes qui pèsent sur les leaders confirmés. Le Forum bâtit sur l'expérience d'une rencontre annuelle entre jeunes leaders israéliens, palestiniens et européens que le Parlement européen organise depuis 2008 avec beaucoup de succès. Il se veut un investissement modeste, mais concret dans le capital humain de demain.



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Welcome words

"We are pleased to welcome you to the website of the European Parliament's Young Political Leaders programme, launched and supported by the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group, which we have the honour of Co-Chairing during this Parliamentary term.  The YPL programme is a flag-ship initiative of the European Parliament designed to promote dialogue and understanding as a means to contribute to longer-term peace and trust amongst future leaders outside the EU. We believe this is an exciting and complementary initiative, alongside the EU's overall efforts, to support young leaders committed to achieving a more peaceful future."

David McAllister & Linda McAvan
AFET & DEVE Committee Chairs

Annual Programme

2017 Annual Programme

The second Annual Young Political Leaders Programme was adopted by Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) on 14 December 2016 in Strasbourg and indicates an emphasis on:

  • the Maghreb region with focus on Tunisia
  • the Eastern Partnership region focussing on Nagorno-Karabakh 
  • the Western Balkans and Turkey
  • the Middle East
  • other CDSA priority countries


At-a-glance

The EP Young Political Leaders Programme acknowledges the importance of building dialogue between future political leaders, in order to develop a climate of trust and confidence that will ultimately lead to a more peaceful world. By connecting young political activists from non-EU countries with each other, as well as building relations with their counterparts in the European Parliament, experiences of peace and democracy can be shared and further developed.

More on Democracy Support and Human rights

Read more about what the European Parliament does in the area of democracy support and human rights.