Next Generation of Transatlantic Leaders Puts Forward Ideas to Strengthen Democracy & Build Prosperity

January 26, 2022

New report released by the NextGen Network calls for bilateral approaches to tackle shared challenges; expresses concern for democratic backsliding.

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, January 26, 2022
– A new report issued today shares a series of proposals to strengthen the transatlantic relationship in the face of mounting global challenges and tensions. The NextGen Network report, Make it Sustainable: Renewing the Transatlantic Relationship, comes from a collaboration led by the Aspen Institute’s International partners and Microsoft, and highlights the views of 22-35-year-olds in America and Europe who are emerging as future leaders in the sectors of technology, business, policy, journalism and civil society.

The report can be read in full here.

“Civil society will now play a crucial role in repairing and reinvigorating the transatlantic bond, thus fortifying the values we hold dear: democracy, liberalism, and cooperation,” said NextGen Network member Zach Pagovski.

The report includes recommendations for a prosperous transatlantic relationship and democratic world, with a focus on four key areas identified by the group: strengthening democracy, building economic opportunity, increasing sustainability efforts, and focusing on the development of technology. Views expressed by the group include:

  • The transatlantic relationship remains the most important bilateral relationship for both the United States and the European Union. The group advocates bilateral approaches to shared issues, preferably on a U.S.-EU basis.
  • NextGen members share similar concerns regarding democratic backsliding in Europe and the United States and believe there is a special role for the transatlantic relationship to uphold shared liberal democratic values.
  • The future of the transatlantic relationship is expected to be defined by technological leadership and the EU-US ability to address sustainability concerns.
  • A survey of this year’s cohort identified the shared values of democracy, economic opportunity, and national security as the most important for the transatlantic relationship. However, climate change, security, and technology ranked as the actual most important issues to members of the cohort.

Findings from the report will be explored during a virtual event on Wednesday, January 26 at 9:00 EST. The report will be launched with a keynote from Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe and Former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and VP of the European Commission (2014-2019). A conversation will follow including: Beatriz Camacho Ávila, RIS Ecosystem Manager for Southern Europe for the EIT Climate-KIC; Casper Klynge, Vice President of European Government Affairs for Microsoft; Adrian Shahbaz, Director of Technology and Democracy for the Freedom House; and moderated by Suzanne Lynch, Co-Author of Brussels Playbook for POLITICO.

The report is based on a series of surveys, virtual workshops, breakout groups, and moderated discussion involving a carefully selected, diverse 25-person cohort of 22–35-year-olds from across the United States and Europe. The intent of this initiative is to provide insight for the leaders of today into the perspectives and policy suggestions of future leaders on the critical transatlantic relationship. Fourteen countries are represented in the Network: The United States, Spain, Italy, Romania, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France, Macedonia, Greece, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

In collaboration with Microsoft, the Aspen Institute’s International Partners launched the NextGen Network in 2018 to serve as a feedback mechanism on the informed perspectives of millennials and Generation Z. This is the Network’s second initiative, with the first report exploring artificial intelligence and how to leverage technology for a more equitable and just future.

Editor’s Note: Journalists interested in interviewing NextGen members on the future of the transatlantic relationship or learning more about the report’s findings should contact Jon Purves:


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.



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