A ball of energy and ambition, Sarah El Heiri, 33, does not mince words. The youngest woman in government, in this interview about youth and business, makes her exit without warning and becomes France’s first female minister to come out as gay. An honest way to advance society. The interview was conducted by Yves Drai.
You share with Gabriel Attal the title of the youngest member of the government since you were born on the same day. funny coincidence…
Sarah El Sheary: That’s right: each of us shares this title with a unique story. I am French-Moroccan, I completed high school in Rabat where I passed my baccalaureate. I chose to get involved in politics in France, in my hometown of Nantes, at the national level as a member of parliament, and today in government. Even if I deeply love Morocco, the country where I grew up. I do not deny anything from my history.
Are you sad about the current bad relations between France and Morocco?
SEH: The relations that unite France and Morocco are very strong. These two countries have relations that transcend political circumstances. First of all, as you know, these are the human bonds woven through history that continue to grow stronger. It is also rich and diverse cooperation and relations in all fields. I welcome it, I contribute to it and I will continue to contribute to it.
Are these links broken?
SEH: Sometimes, of course, like in the family! Sometimes we argue with the people we love but we are inseparable. On both sides of the Mediterranean, the will is there to ensure the quality of our partnership and the rapprochement between our two countries. I also recently visited French institutions in Morocco, and met with the Minister of Defense at the request of Sebastien Licorne.
Where you are, the status of the youngest member of the government has a special meaning?
SEH: Honestly, I don’t think so.
Is it a coincidence that the Minister of Youth herself is a young woman?
SEH: Maybe it helped. But I don’t think you have to be young to take care of the young and old to take care of the old. What matters are ideas and convictions. Youth is a transitional state…
Is it your duty to set an example for this young man, to embody him in a certain way?
SEH: Yes, when you do politics, you have to be exemplary and transparent. There is not just one youth but many youth. My task is to let everyone find their place.
Are you an inspiration to young people?
SEH: We need proof that it can work in France. People often say to me: “It’s good to see you, to hear you.” It gives me a lot of energy. But we need models of human height. I believe in heroes every day. It could be a contractor, teacher, firefighter, parent, etc.
Sarah El Sheary: We are in a phase of estrangement with the end of peace in Europe, terrorist risks, climate change causing catastrophes… Faced with this, the youth should be equipped to tackle these problems head on instead of suffering them.
Do you have political ambition?
SEH: naturally. Promote an ideal, France is not a victim, France is an action that does not cut the wings of hope. I started my first business when I was 18 years old. It didn’t work out, but then I created associations and then got into politics at my own expense. I lost at first, started again once, twice…
Is there a situation that appeals to you, where you could be useful?
SEH: Maybe in my city… I am a member of the city council of Nantes and it pains me to see my city floundering in the rankings, stuck in a vice position on security issues. I want her back to her glory. So yes, there will be a fight with Nantes. But beware, project does not necessarily mean delegation.
In a way, you represent diversity in government. Isn’t it time to make a character Who came out of Ain Matignon?
SEH: I am not with the quota. I hope the French will see me as an activist, as someone who has convictions and projects and carries them out. We do not choose a prime minister based on his principles.
How did you feel when Rachida Dati was appointed Minister of Justice in 2007?
SEH: I was 18, I supported Nicolas Sarkozy and she was inspiring, that’s right. She comes like me from Morocco, her mother looks like my grandmother. I liked her light-hearted personality and she was not unworthy of her position.
Your great fix is the Universal National Service (SNU). You often say that it will serve national cohesion, Republic values, ecological transition, etc. But you don’t talk about the company…that’s not it UNS topic?
SEH: But if! When I do financial education with the Bank of France via SNU, for example, we prepare citizens to be able to manage the budget themselves. Mobility is a major barrier to employment, SNU will lead young people to mobility first. It would also allow these teens to meet people they don’t look like: that’s a problem in the world of work. I do not separate civilian life from corporate life.
Do you think there is too much individualism in our society?
SEH: Yes. And collective and organizational commitments are declining, especially in our associations. 60% of young people say: “I will not work for Company X or Company Y because it does not respect my values. This awareness of key issues is helpful, but I want to say to them: Get involved and transform companies, stand up for your values, and take action.” We are at a breaking point with The end of peace in Europe, terrorist risks, climate change causing catastrophes… In the face of this, young people must be equipped to tackle these problems head-on rather than suffer them. These are SNU, the tools that will allow them tomorrow to choose their own path.
You get the feeling that Emmanuel Macron has been true to his youth campaign promises declared as a priority?
SEH: Yes, of course. We didn’t just talk, we acted. “Young man, the solution?” 12 billion euros invested. National education budget? The first state budget. Youth employment contract for dropouts? 300,000 people. Education? A huge investment because we believe that work is liberating. We can also talk about menstrual instability, culture transgression, etc. till then.
You haven’t talked about these young people who create startups and thus jobs, and raise money, and sometimes dream of doing it luck. Are you less interested in them?
SEH: impossible. When a young man undertakes, you have to support him, whether he creates a startup or takes over a butcher shop.
Sarah El Hery on Bernard Arnault: I am a patriot of my country! I want to see France top of the standings, I want the third star on our World Cup jersey, I like when the French are the best in all disciplines.
Emmanuel Macron has supported startups better than butchers or bakers, right?
SEH: no. We take care of start-ups until they become unicorns thanks to effective regulations and a stable tax framework. But we also support the recovery of small and medium enterprises and small and medium enterprises. France undertakes this.
Are you afraid of the ChatGPT wave?
SEH: no. Don’t approach technology by fighting it. We need to train our young people in AI and teach them to ask the right questions on ChatGPT, to use this amazing tool that does not replace human intelligence. To deny the development of artificial intelligence in our lives is to risk being significantly left behind. Why are young French people the only ones denying themselves the potential of artificial intelligence?
At your level, do you use it?
SEH: Yes, it happens to me. I asked him all kinds of questions and even one about the State University of New South Wales. intellectual greed. It was positive! ChatGPT is like social networks, it all depends on what you do with it.
You are also not immune from social networks. does it reach you
SEH: I try not to read because I know Twitter isn’t real life. But when my family or my partner is affected, yes, it hurts. But I made this choice for public work.
Your interview will appear in our annual issue where we publish a ranking of French billionaires. We have it often He said that Emmanuel Macron was the “president of the rich”. Do you consider it an insult?
SEH: He is the chief of all the French. I do not condemn young people who dream of being rich in order to live a better life. A country is never strong when it is jealous. Having billionaires in a country is a sign of good economic health. It also makes it possible to invest, participate and create jobs. I believe in an economy that creates value. I am also very committed to philanthropy and sponsorship. The very wealthy support science, art, medicine, environmental protection, gender equality…
So wealth is not indecent?
SEH: No, if we participate in a joint venture. Billionaires bear a responsibility to society through agreed solidarity, beyond taxes, which is compulsory solidarity. When I see Xavier Niel creating schools and institutions that make contemporary art accessible and support the creation or restoration of heritage, it makes me happy.
If Bernard Arnault became the richest man in the world, would you be proud of him?
SEH: I am a patriot of my country! I want to see France top of the standings, I want the third star on our World Cup jersey, I like when the French are the best in all disciplines.
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