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Essay Competition – 2022 Year of Youth

Read the winning essay by Joana Jacinto

Winner Announcement

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Bruegel Youth Essay Competition 2022: 

  • 1st Place: Inverting the pyramid: addressing the depopulation of the EU, by Joana Jacinto
  • 2nd Place: A consumer-focused energy-based policy for the EU, by Emilia Chojkiewicz
  • 3rd Place: A dialogue between EU Budgetary autonomy and NGEU in the post-covid crisis, by Pau Alvarez

A very warm congratulations to the winners and sincere thanks to all the participants for submitting your work!  The winning essay will be published on Bruegel's website this autumn. The award giving ceremony will take place in Bruegel Annual Meetings on 6-7 Sep in Brussels. 

Youth essay cover 2

Inverting the pyramid: addressing working-age depopulation in the European Union 

Read the winning essay by Joana Jacinto


The European economy is going through major transformations. It is recovering from a global pandemic, while navigating trade relations in a changing geopolitical landscape, managing the deployment of digital technologies, and aiming to weaning itself off fossil fuels. Smart policy-making is more necessary than ever, whether to give direct impetus to some of these transformations (eg. to achieve decarbonisation), to steer market forces in a desirable direction (eg. to foster the adoption of digital technologies), or to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

Bruegel’s mission is to improve the quality of economic policy by providing open and fact-based research, analysis and debate. Based on our expertise in the areas of European governance, macroeconomic policy, banking and capital markets, trade and the global economy, the green economy, innovation and the digital transition, and inclusive growth, our experience in stakeholder engagement gives Bruegel an agenda setting role.

The essay should answer the following question:

“What should be a priority of the European Union’s economic policy agenda in the coming years?”

In the spirit of Bruegel’s work, we are looking for an evidence-based piece targeted at policy makers and opinion makers. The essay should count max 8000 words, with some technical content, but where the main line of argument should be clear to non-specialists.

The essays will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Clarity of proposal: The policy priority being put forward should be clearly identifiable
  • Motivation: You should argue convincingly why this proposal is important and under-served in the current policy debate
  • Sound methodology: Your arguments should be based on carefully collected sources and can make use of quantitative evidence presented in charts and tables.
  • Policy applicability: Your idea should be directly relevant for policy-making
  • Structure: Your essay should have an abstract and a clear structure

Eligible candidates: Students enrolled in graduate studies or recently graduated (under 2 years since graduation)

Timeline: Submissions by May 31 2022; selection and announcement of the top 3 essays by 31 June 2022!

Submission should be made to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Essay Competition – 2022 Year of Youth – PAPERTITLE’.

3 winning essays:


  • receives € 2000 prize money,
  • is invited to speak in the Bruegel Annual Meetings 2022 and present ideas from the essay in a dedicated panel -> The winner gets a « seat at the table » in major policy discussions!
  • the essay will be published in the Bruegel’s essays series,

Two runners-up:

  • receive € 1000 prize money,
  • invited to attend the Bruegel Annual Meetings
  • invited to present their essays in the Youth Research Meeting.

The costs of travel and accommodation will be covered by Bruegel.

The European Commission has made 2022 the Year of Youth and launched several initiatives to integrate the youth’s voice in the decision-making process.

Bruegel wants to support this goal by introducing programme activities in 2022 which allow engaging with young people in determining priorities in economic policy and providing a platform to young people to present their ideas to high-level policy makers and other stakeholders from private and public sectors. Bruegel Youth Programme for 2022 contains:

  1. An essay competition: call to submit essays on the question: “What should be a priority of the European Union’s economic policy agenda in the coming years?”
  2. Youth Session in Bruegel Annual Meetings: Award Ceremony and panel session with the award winner.