Europe’s most ‘rizz’ politicians, ranked

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Zoya Sheftalovich is POLITICO’s Global Playbook editor.

How do you do, fellow kids?

Oxford’s Word of the Year for 2023 is “rizz” — aka someone with “style, charm, or attractiveness.” Or “charisma,” as the olds might say.

Naturally, that got POLITICO wondering: Which EU politicians have the most rizz, and who is the most rizz-deficient? After a super-scientific survey of POLITICO Towers, we’ve come up with this definitive rating. But before you start drafting your angrily-worded letters, just so we’re clear: Sometimes, good rizz happens to bad people, and a high score on our rizz-o-meter doesn’t constitute an endorsement.

French President Emmanuel Macron

The French president once had a lot of rizz — there was something about his cheeky grin and centrist populism that sent Europeans gaga for Jupiter.

Alas, as so often happens, Macron flew too close to the sun. Strike one was his admonishment of a schoolboy for calling him “Manu,” followed by an order to call him “Mr. President” instead.

It’s so not rizz to try to give yourself a nickname. It’s been downhill from there.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

It’s hard to find a politician with less rizz than the German chancellor.

Whether delivering speeches to the Bundestag or answering reporters’ questions live on TV, Olaf Scholz has all the swagger of a chartered accountant frowning over your tax return.

To be fair, you likely don’t want too much rizz in the leader of the EU’s top economic powerhouse — but you probably want more than you’d get from a rock with a face painted on it.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Pithy catchphrases, inspirational speeches, impossible bravery, sweet dance moves — plus the internet stans a short king. Zelenskyy was a celebrity before he became Ukraine’s president, and it shows.

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni

The Italian PM started out low on the rizz-o-meter — turns out building a personal brand on loving The Lord of the Rings doesn’t score you points with the cool crowd.

But things deteriorated this year when Meloni fell for a prank by Russian comedians pretending to be African Union officials.

We’d expect more digital nous from someone who reportedly called herself the “little dragon of the Italian undernet” in online chatrooms in her early 20s.

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has zero rizz. Labour leader Keir Starmer? Utterly rizzless. Liz Truss is definitely not Rizz Truss. Nigel Farage has some rizz, but his rakish persona is so manufactured, the kids can smell it a mile away.

No, Britain’s rizz-est politician is one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

We know what you’re thinking: No one named “de Pfeffel” could possibly be rizz. We’re as surprised as anyone. And yet, there’s something about that self-effacing, bumbling, Ukraine-backing bluster and bumble that’s so anti-rizz, it’s actually rizz.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola

She may not have the rizz of a Barack Obama (10/10 rizz), but Metsola is the EU’s most rizz president. Sure, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has a certain star quality, but she loses points for her anti-wolf crusade.

European Council President Charles Michel, meanwhile, will never be rizz after sofagate. Metsola, too, has her detractors, but ultimately ekes out a win by doing a Bradbury.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Look, we could tell you that waging an unprovoked and brutal war on your neighbors isn’t rizz.

We could note that releasing stage-managed photos of yourself riding horses and hunting while shirtless isn’t rizz.

We could say that being besties with the not-so-supreme leaders of North Korea and Iran isn’t rizz.

But we don’t need to.

Of all the world leaders we can think of, Vladimir Putin is the one we’d least like to have a cup of tea or a beer with. Enough said.

Zero rizz for you. Next.

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