The appointment of Gabriel Attal as French prime minister has attracted a lot of media attention, as, moreover, was to be expected: a 34-year-old in such an important role is undoubtedly news, not least because his short career shows no special abilities other than being Macron’s power favorite and being good-looking, but what is relevant is not so much his age as the confirmation of a method, that of selecting élites. Gabriel Attal “resembles” mediatically another premier who has enjoyed global notoriety, Sanna Marin, who, when she was elected Finnish premier, a position she held until 2023, was precisely 34 years old. Both can boast the same cultural roots and the same school, that of the Young Global Leaders, the World Economic Forum’s community of young elites. Too bad that Sanna Marin was the biggest disappointment in European politics in the last 20 years. Young, good-looking, but empty of skills and values, just a kind of magaphone of mainstrea power.
So Macron has chosen his own copy, a kind of prototype of the young leader of the world’s elites, but this guarantees neither his popularity nor his ability to govern. On the contrary, there is a good chance that his figure will turn out to be not authoritative but authoritarian, indisposing French voters even more in view of the upcoming European elections.
Bright young people are sensitized to the values of globalization and trained to manage power in their respective professions. They have come through here: Emmanuel Macron, Matteo Renzi when he was Mayor of Florence, Green Party leader and current German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. It is quite an extensive network that counts among current members and alumni more than 1,400 people of more than 120 nationalities. And it is by no means secret: the list of affiliates can be found on the association’s website. No conspiracy, in short. Rather a method, undoubtedly effective, given the ability to project its affiliates to the top.
Attal looks like a clone of Macron, who in turn was Economy Minister at age 37 and became French President at age 39. Considering that the Elysee chief will not be able to run for a third term, it is possible that Attal will be the chosen one to succeed him, although of course it is too early to make predictions about elections scheduled for 2027. We shall see; certainly, his appointment is emblematic of an elite that boasts of constituting the true “government of the world” for the past 30 years or so.