He was expected to head the presidential camp’s list in the European elections. Stéphane Séjourné, current president of the Renew group (centrists) in the European Parliament, finally becomes the head of French diplomacy, replacing Catherine Colonna.
He will bring to the government his first-hand knowledge of European balances, a key subject for Emmanuel Macron, and a thick address book in all EU countries. In his new role, he will sit on the Foreign Affairs Council which takes, among other things, strategic decisions on Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
Close to Emmanuel Macron
In this enclosure, he will work with numerous counterparts who have passed through the European Parliament (the German Annalena Baerbock, the Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel, the Lithuanian Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Slovenian Tanja Fajon, the Italian Antonio Tajani, former President of the hemicycle) . “Which demonstrates a Europeanization of national policies,” underlines Stéphane Séjourné’s entourage.
The native of Versailles, 38 years old, has been close to Emmanuel Macron for almost ten years, who brought him into his office at the Ministry of the Economy in 2014. The future President of the Republic was seduced by a note acid by Stéphane Séjourné on the landscape of the socialist camp, which he had been able to observe from the office of Jean-Paul Huchon, then president of the Ile-de-France region.
Early commitment to the left
Stéphane Séjourné became involved in politics very early, during his student years in Poitiers, where he fought against the first-hire contract and linked up with personalities like Sacha Houlié, current president of the Laws Committee in the Assembly. In 2006, he joined Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s campaign for the socialist primaries (lost to Ségolène Royal).
After declining an invitation to run in the 2017 legislative elections, he agreed two years later to lead the European campaign and run for a MEP seat. In 2021, he took over as president of the Renew group, one of the three forces that make up the so-called “von der Leyen” majority which dominates the European assembly.
In this difficult position, where it is necessary to bring together very different sensibilities, he has shown himself to be particularly uncompromising on respect for the rule of law, particularly with regard to the “illiberal” government of Viktor Orban in Hungary. In recent months, he has been heavily involved in thorny issues such as the migration and asylum pact or the restoration of nature.
Stéphane Séjourné has constantly wanted to consolidate his group for two years, especially ahead of an election where the polls show Renew in decline compared to 2019. According to our information, the most likely is that the first vice-president current member of the group, the Dutchman Malik Azmani (VVD), leads it until July.
Stéphane Séjourné has a Hispanic tropism. He grew up largely in Spanish-speaking countries, first in Madrid, then in Mexico and Buenos Aires where his father worked for France Telecom, and where he obtained his baccalaureate. In Argentina, he was struck by the severity of the economic and social crisis at the beginning of the century and joined the PS shortly after. This knowledge of the Latin American world will surely be put to good use in discussions around the EU-Mercosur trade agreement which collapsed at the end of 2023.
As part of his current functions, Stéphane Séjourné has met the heads of government of his political family (the Dutchman Mark Rutte, the Belgian Alexander De Croo, the Estonian Kaja Kallas, etc.). He was in a relationship and civil partnership with Gabriel Attal, from whom he is now separated. The two thirty-somethings made the front page of the weekly magazine Le Monde in 2021 under the title “A couple at the heart of power”.
This article is originally published on lesechos.fr