Gabriel Attal and Jordan Bardella will face each other on May 23 in a highly anticipated debate in this European election campaign. Here’s what to expect.

This debate will undoubtedly be the hot point of the 2024 European campaign. At the repeated request of Jordan Bardella, head of the National Rally list given the lead in the polls, Gabriel Attal agreed to take part in a televised duel. At 28 and 35 years old respectively, the boss of the RN and the Prime Minister will once again find themselves face to face to defend their two camps. For Attal, it will above all be a question of relaunching the campaign of its candidate Valérie Hayer, who is struggling to convince.

“Don’t want to debate? I love it!” Assured the head of government to the JDD, when he was suspected of engaging reluctantly in this campaign. In any case, it took the help of Emmanuel Macron to convince Attal to play the game. The one who told the JDD that he would have preferred to rub shoulders with Marine Le Pen therefore finally accepts the duel against a Jordan Bardella at the top of its popularity. In this match, well beyond the Europeans, these are two rising figures in politics who will defend their chapel.

Gabriel Attal and Jordan Bardella will face each other on the France 2 set Thursday May 23 from 8:15 p.m. The 2nd channel expects to achieve very good audiences for the occasion. A time cited to co-broadcast the debate, TF1 will ultimately not be involved. The match will be hosted by journalist Caroline Roux in her show “L’éveil”.

European campaign obliges, Gabriel Attal and Jordan Bardella will be invited to discuss their program for the European Union and the major subjects which animate the European Parliament: sovereignty, war in Ukraine, Common Agricultural Policy, security, immigration… But the presence of Prime Minister, wanted by Jordan Bardella, suggests that the discussion could take a national turn: the RN candidate will not hesitate to attack the record of Emmanuel Macron, which the head of Government will endeavor to defend.

Gabriel Attal finally overcame his reluctance to get involved in the European election campaign. The Prime Minister, who argued a few weeks ago that he was “head of government, not of the campaign”, ended up giving in to the injunctions of his President of the Republic. Emmanuel Macron left him little choice: it was the President of the Republic himself who convinced (not to say summoned) Gabriel Attal to play the game. “You have to go,” wrote Macron to her foal on Sunday April 28, during a tense exchange of messages, according to information from Le Parisien. “The president put a gun to his head,” adds an advisor to the Elysée.

“I hope that he gets as involved as possible in the campaign by holding debates and meetings,” Emmanuel Macron confirmed to the Tribune du Dimanche on May 5.

Yet neck and neck with Valérie Hayer in the polls, the head of the list of the Socialist Party and Place Publique was not invited to Caroline Roux’s show on May 23. France 2 has chosen a duel between the two favorite camps, which has the gift of annoying Raphaël Glucksmann. “Do you find it normal for the public service to organize, two weeks before the European election, a debate (…) between the right and the extreme right, excluding the left?” Deplored the MEP on Sunday May 12 on France 3. The latter deplored a desire to “permanently reestablish this false duel between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.”

Strange choice of poster two weeks before the European elections: if Jordan Bardella is indeed the head of the National Rally list for this election, Gabriel Attal, for his part, does not appear on the list of the Macronist camp. Valérie Hayer, official head of Renaissance’s list, will therefore be the other major absentee from this long-awaited evening. Remember that the MEP already debated with Jordan Bardella on May 2, a face-to-face meeting which did not appear to affect the campaign dynamics of the two camps. This time, it is the Prime Minister himself who will come to defend Emmanuel Macron’s record and his European project.

I “also find it abnormal that Ms. Hayer is made invisible and replaced by the Prime Minister, who is not a candidate in the European elections”, pointed out Raphaël Glucksmann on France 3. But faced with a campaign that is slipping, Gabriel Attal is sent to play the popularity map. The Prime Minister is used to duels with Jordan Bardella: both are regularly cited as being the respective heirs of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Some will even see the May 23 debate as a dress rehearsal for 2027.