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
David McAllister and Linda McAvan
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 flagship 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

At a glance

The European Parliament's 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 one another and with their counterparts in the European Parliament, experiences of peace and democracy can be shared and further developed.

YPL Alumni Visit Last Plenary Session of Eight Legislature

15-17 April 2019, Strasbourg

Young Political Leaders in Strasbourg

The European Parliament welcomed a group of young politicians, researchers, journalists and activists on 15-17 April 2019, as part of its efforts to reach out to future generations and promote peace around the world.

The visitors, alumni of the Parliament's Young Political Leaders' programme, came from two regions neighbouring the EU that face deep, long-standing conflicts: the South Caucasus and the Middle East. Participants are drawn from both sides of the divide -Armenia and Azerbaijan and Israel and Palestine. The event provided a platform to look beyond the conflicts and engage constructively on the role of young peacebuilders and the ways to leverage the global Youth Peace and Security agenda.

A tailored programme

During their three days in Strasbourg, the young leaders engaged in sessions devoted to analysing,preventing and resolving conflicts.

Their programme included discussions about the situation in their home countries with political group advisers, as well as exercises designed to sharpen their peacebuilding skills.

Participants also followed a meeting of Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee (AFET) attended by Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

A number of MEPs engaged in lively discussions with the group, including EP Vice-Presidents Ms Livia Jaroka and Ms Heidi Hautala and the Chair of the EP EURONEST Delegation Ms Rebecca Harms. The participants also met European Union Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Christos Stylianides, as well as high ranking officials from the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.

Conflict Analysis

As different, as the conflict contexts could be, all young leaders have to face highly polarised public opinions in their communities and to address this challenge daily on both professional and personal level. To this end the centrepiece of the programme was a conflict analysis exercise organised with the facilitation of two renowned experts on the region - Mr Stephen Young,  Advisor at CMI and Mr Marc Otte - Vice-president of the European Institute of Peace. In the frame of the exercise each group had the chance to look into the conflict of the other drawing on each other's experiences and perspectives.

European Elections 2019

Organising the event during the last Strasbourg session of the eight Parliamentary term exposed the participants to the work of the Parliament during a politically interesting moment in the wake of the upcoming European elections. The participants followed the last Future of Europe debate in plenary with Mr Krisjanis Karins, Prime Minister of Latvia and were briefed on the institutional election campaign for EE2019 by colleagues from DG COMMs services.

The Young Political Leaders' Programme

The Young Political Leaders' Programme is one of the initiatives of the European Parliament's Democracy and Election Coordination Group (DEG), a dedicated group of MEPs who oversee the Parliament's efforts to support democracy beyond the EU.

Since 2013, the programme brings together youth from outside the EU to bolster their skills and encourage peaceful dialogue and cooperation. The project is inspired by EU core values -including human dignity and respect for human rights - and the role that the next generation of leaders can play in building better, more peaceful societies.

2nd High Level Youth Dialogue “Bridging the Gap” with the Western Balkan countries

On 20 -21 September 2018, about a week before the historic referendum on the name issue in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the European Parliament is launching a dialogue on youth political participation in Skopje. The event will be hosted by the Macedonian National Assembly and will be organised partnership with the Assembly and the European Commission.

The 2nd High Level Youth Dialogue "Bridging the gap" will once again provide a space for youth representatives and young Members of Parliaments from the Western Balkan to deepen dialogue and an agenda for action on youth policies which are central to ensuring the European perspective of the countries in the region. The regional perspective also contributes to initiatives to support reconciliation and good neighbourly relations, which is a fundamental part of the regions successful progress towards the EU.

The programme of the Bridging the Gap dialogue was extended with the introduction of  Policy Labs sessions together with the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service. The Policy Labs will address four critical topics - Youth engagement with politics, Youth Employment, Enterprise and Brain Drain, Fake News and Disinformation as well as Reconciliation and Legacies of the Past.

As well as producing policy recommendations, the Policy Labs will provide an innovative policy design blueprint that could be used pro-actively in the implementation of youth policies at the national level in the Western Balkans countries.

latest news - Youth, Peace and Security

Photo of the YPS meeting room

'Young people are agents of innovation, development and change and, as such, are natural and essential contributors to conflict prevention and peace building around the world.' was president Tajani's message after officially opening the two day high-level conference on Youth, Peace and Security.

This conference, held on 23 and 24 May 2018 in Brussels, was an essential part of EU's implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (UNSCR 2250).

It builds on the work done at around various EU youth networks, including the European Parliament's Young Political Leaders' Programme, and other initiatives to promote youth in peace building.

These concrete results from the 2-day conference on youth, peace and security stood out:

·        It asserted the European Parliament's full support behind the EU's engagement on Youth,Peace and Security as it was envisaged by the DEG 2018 annual work programme and as an essential part of the European Parliament's Young Political Leaders' Programme.

·        It provided an innovative platform for EU-level policy dialogue on Youth, Peace and Security through engaging youth from and working with the EU and a very diverse range of stakeholders in a level playing field.

·        It created further impetus for EU-UN cooperation on youth in peace building.

Conference on Youth, Peace and Security

23-24 May 2018

Poster - Promoting Youth

This conference was foreseen in the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group's 2018 annual work programme and is an essential part of the European Parliament's Young Political Leaders Programme.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani opened the conference, with several Members of the European Parliament actively participating. The conference was officially closed by Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, at the offices of the European External Action Service.

The EU has been stepping up its work on the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as set out in the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 adopted in 2015.

This EU Conference on Youth, Peace and Security represented a milestone in the EU's engagement with the agenda, aiming to catalyse the EU-UN strategic partnership on youth in peacebuilding. Young peace builders were joined by representatives of EU Institutions, EU Member States, UN entities and other multilateral and non-governmental partners.

Young Political Leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan

5-7 March 2018

The Young Political Leaders Programme included, for the second year in a row, a specific project focussing on Armenia and Azerbaijan, aimed at fostering dialogue on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It brought together young leaders from political parties, non-governmental organizations and academia from each country and encouraged them to explore ways to play positive roles in peaceful dialogue and the search for solutions to the conflict.

This programme included sessions with key Members of the European Parliament and other experts, as well as two facilitated case studies during which participants were invited to reflect on their own situations and identify opportunities for their own contexts. The participants also explored opportunities to work together on the further development of projects and initiatives related to the search for a peaceful solution in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The dynamics during the second Young Political Leaders for Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict showed a positive deepening of the dialogue with constructive and positive exchanges between participants reflecting openly on their own national views. 

The result was a programme that was widely appreciated by the young leaders. They expressed that it contributed to building trust, as well as to their empowerment, as present and future opinion leaders, to pursue peaceful solutions to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


Democracy and human rights