Each year ThinkYoung identifies a cluster of around 300 extraordinary individuals under 35 years old, drawn from all regions of Europe.

These leaders come from different backgrounds: entrepreneurs, managers, politicians, members of civil society and media professionals.

These European Future Leaders are a unique, multi-stakeholder community of exceptional young European leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future, who together form a powerful community that can dramatically impact the global future.

ThinkYoung gathered the opinions of these European Future Leaders on “How to get Europe back on track” via a survey which was presented to international leaders in the field of business and management at the European Business Summit.


A similar survey was also conducted by Accenture on European CEOs.


Download the report.


Below, an article related to this project written by Simone Disegni.




Ready to take the lead


A survey on 250 European Future Leaders finds out the recommendations of the younger generation to put Europe back on track.


Crisis?  Fear? Mistrust? No thanks.


The “next generation” of Europeans is not afraid of grey economic scenarios, of changes in world balances or in domestic societies.

Confidence and optimism alone, however, are not sufficient in order to revitalize European countries after the financial storm: other measures are needed as soon as possible.

Those are the main findings of a survey conducted by ThinkYoung – a new Brussels-based think-tank – on over 250 young leaders: a special, multistakeholder panel of brilliant European youngsters who have already taken the path of leadership in the fields of business or entrepreneurship, politics, media or civil society.

Among the various results of this enquiry, five main recommendations emerge most clearly.

As for the economic relaunch of Europe, the excess and the weight of bureaucracy are pointed as the major obstacle to success, together with the lack of accessibility to credit which obstructs investments and long-term plans, especially for start-ups. It is not acceptable – say in short the “future leaders” – that a good idea which aims to give an added value to the society is made impossible by heavy procedures or by a lack of confidence.

Rise of new powers and decline of old ones; huge migration flows; deterioration of the ecosystem and natural catastrophes; continuous technological development: at the beginning of the 21st century the world is changing at an unprecedented speed. Young Europeans – the survey finds – are aware of this and of the dangers that each of these transformations brings; nevertheless, they refuse the idea of closing Europe in a fortress to beat those fears. Immigrants, for example, should not be seen as a threat but rather as a resource both for cultural encounter and enrichment and for economic growth. People coming from third countries, in other words, should find it much easier to integrate European societies, especially if they are willing to bring energies and skills.

In the Western world there is much talk about the possible consequences of the impressive rise of the BRICs, but also of other countries such as Mexico, Indonesia or South Korea.

Does this phenomenon mean – as the most pessimist foresee – that Europe will fall into an ever deeper crisis and lose the possibility to influence the world according to its interest and values? That is definitely not the way the “European Future Leaders” see this process; on the contrary, an overwhelming majority of the respondents believes that the emergence of new actors on the international scene represents an opportunity rather than a danger.


If the rapid erosion of the historical dominant position and of a sixty-years old, Western-led world order may be perceived as scaring by European citizens, the suggestion that seems to come from the young leaders is that that transformation should better be used to correct the imbalances of the past order: to build, in short, a more fair and stable global economic system as well as an efficient multilateral political order.

The young generation, moreover, strongly recommends that Europe hold the lead n the fight against climate change: tough measures need to be taken internally in order to boost truly green investment and innovation. This is not even a choice – the future leaders seem to suggest -  but an obligation if Europe wants to keep growing, since there is no possible development but through sustainability.

Last but not least, if Europe really wants to recover from the crisis and stay at the top of the innovation process, huge investments have to be made in the field of education and research. High-level and smart education not only makes better and wiser people but – as the economic theory shows – also provides a significant contribution to the growth of the society as a whole.

In many European countries, much more resources need to be mobilized to support this sector.
A, B, C, D, E: with those five letters Mr. Andrea Gerosa, founder of ThinkYoung, summed up the results of the survey to the public of a dedicated panel at the European Business Summit, last July 1st at the “Tour & Taxis” venue, in Brussels. (Open) attitude; bureaucracy; credit; (sustainable) development and education.


The presentation was followed by an intense discussion about what leadership means in today’s world with three young leaders: Miss Antonia Sariyska, President of JADE, Mr. Hugo Pereira, President of AIESEC, and Mr. Cosmin Malureanu, founder of Ascendia Design and JA-YE Young Entrepreneur of the year 2010.

The message by young Europeans, in conclusion, is simple and direct: fear and closure have never helped avoid damages and will not; trust and openness to new developments are the only answer. If you want to pass over the wave, just be brave!

Simone Disegni


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