Milko Penev is a member of the parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria. He was elected as the youngest member of the 47th Bulgarian parliament. By trade, Milko is a medical doctor with interests in health policy and how innovation can help combat the growing healthcare worker shortage. In 2024 he served as the European Union delegate for Innovation and Digital Transformation to the Youth G7 Summit in Rome.

What do you think most prepared you to be a delegate before you were appointed to represent the EU at the Youth 7 Summit? 

My political background has helped me a great deal in the complex environment that was the Y7 Summit. The difficulty with the G7 format and Y7 respectively is that all the parties have their unique domestic context and priorities that they base their negotiation priorities on. Although we are united by democratic values and market driven economies it is challenging to unite on policies that are relevant to all of the member states. My experience as an elected official has taught me how to approach situations with many different interests involved and how to find common ground on which to unite.

Please share with us your experience at the summit. Did you experience anything that you did not expect? What was the highlight of your time at the conference? 

The summit was very well planned and organized. The schedule was very demanding and everyone had to be very punctual in order to keep up with the pace. During the pre-summits I had the chance to speak with most of the other delegates but in the little free time that we had it was an extremely pleasant experience to chat with them and get the perspective of the future leaders of the other G7 countries. I did not expect that so many high level officials from the Italian government and international organizations would attend our meetings but it was a pleasant surprise for sure! The highlight was definitely all the people I had the chance to connect with and the good thing about being in Italy is the food.

You worked for several months on your proposals and in negotiations to achieve the best result possible for your track. Can you share with us your biggest points which you pushed for in your track? What was the outcome after months of negotiations? 

The meetings with the other track members began in early February and they were all online before the actual summit in Rome. During those meetings we managed to map the most important priorities that could unites us all. In my opinion the most important and relevant part was the point about Artificial intelligence and the threat it poses to democracy. This is a relevant problem that Europe is experiencing at the moment with all of the disinformation campaigns going around the old continent before the European elections. The communique and the Innovation part is the perfect blend of the different viewpoints that all of the delegates have and I do believe it does justice to all the young people of the G7.

The Y7 communique will be shared this year with the G7 leaders when they come together and meet in Italy from June 13-15. If you could tell them one stand out point from the communique that you wish they would enact, what would it be and why? 

In the preamble of the communique all of the delegates issued a statement to promote peace and security globally. I hope that the G7 leaders will feel emboldened from the support of the young people from their respective countries and will act with courage and determination to promote peace and security in the world. 

Given the fact that you have served as an MP prior to your Y7 appointment and are involved in the Bulgarian politician scene, what are your plans to help disseminate the communique in Bulgaria? 

Even before the actual summit my contact network in Bulgaria took great interest in the summit and the decisions that we are going to take. Many young people from Bulgaria took part in the survey organized by Young European Leadership (YEL) and that has helped me and my fellow EU delegates to determine the most important points that we should focus our efforts on. 

The dissemination process domestically will be assisted by my personal network and I have the ambitions to share our achievements with the wider European public.

Is there anything that you would like to recommend to others out there that are considering applying to be a Y7 or Y20 delegate in 2025? 

I would encourage everyone to apply to the Y7 because this is their chance to impact actual world politics and is a very good thing for the actual G7 leaders because it allows them to take in the fresh perspective of the young people. Everyone who considers applying should do it. The most important quality that the candidates need to have is integrity and desire for positive change for everything else they can find the support needed along the way. Good luck!