Eero Heinäluoma

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
In the 1970s I was carried away to youth politics. Afterwards  I worked for a long time in the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions in different positions. After a long career and by request of many people I decided to try to be an active agent in politics. I was nominated General Secretary candidate of the party and was elected in 2002. After a long deliberation I set myself up as a candidate in the parliamentary elections and in spring 2003 I was elected an MP by Finns.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes. My parents were active members of trade unions and already at home politics were discussed. In the 1970s I was active in social democratic youth movement and national youth and vocational training organizations.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
Yes and no.  Working in the trade union movement is working with social affairs. The leap to the role of a full-time politician was in a way short. One thing that I deliberated long and carefully was candidacy to MP since uniting the tasks of the General Secretary of the party and an MP was not a matter of course. Now later I think it was good that I had thought this role differentiation over in advance.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
A just balance between work and other elements of production. A balance between social rights and responsibilities. A balance between environment and economic growth. Participation and democracy. Internationalism and solidarity.

How could you present The Social Democratic party to our readers who don’t know it?
The Finnish Social Democratic Party (SDP) is a strong Finnish political force with firm traditions in developing the circumstances of especially workpeople and low-income groups. Social democracy is social reform work on the basis of socialist values. Socialism underlines people’s responsibility for each other and for their community. The humane values of socialism have become deep rooted in the whole democratic Europe. The mass movement based on human value, human rights and individual responsibility raised people to citizens who have state, educational, social and work rights. SDP has members and votes all over Finland and its support is close to 30 per cent.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
The biggest political challenge is the building of a modern welfare state of the future. Matters such as health, school, care of children and old people, working life and taxation are included as well as the balance between them.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Feedback from people and discussions with them about the objectives of politics are the most positive aspects. The most negative is irresponsible political discussion and argumentation.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
I don’t consider it a mere profession as I act and make decisions also on the basis of my own convictions and so it may be more.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you  choose?
I have worked in a machine workshop, in a warehouse and in different organizations and I have good memories from all of them. I have not considered changing the field of work but you never know about the future.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
I don’t see that interest in politics as such has diminished. Only the forms of policy-making and voting as an institution have suffered from inflation. These are the greatest challenges of the political actors in the future.

What should be done to change this situation?
Politics must find new contacting surfaces with the everyday life of European citizens.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
My biggest project is to bring up of my children. Professionally the tasks of General Secretary  and an MP

Hanna-Leena Hemming

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I JOINED THE PARTY (THE NATIONAL COALITION PARTY, WHICH IS A CONSERVATIVE PARTY) IN 1999 WHEN I GOT DISSATISFIED WITH THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN MY HOME TOWN ESPOO. A YEAR LATER I BECAME ELECTED A MEMBER OF THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF ESPOO. QUITE SOON AFTER THAT I DECIED TO RUN FOR  PARLIAMENT.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONSERVATIVE IN MY MIND BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO REMAIN INDEPENDENT.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
THE CHOICE WAS EASY, IT WAS MORE OR LESS A NATURAL SUCCESSION OF THINGS.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…

ACTIVITY, INDEPENDENCE, SOVREIGNTY, ORIGINALITY, SELF-GOVERNMENT CONCERNING A PERSON

How could you present The National Coalition Party to our readers who don’t know it?
IT’S A PARTY THAT REPRESENTS ALL PEOPLE, EVERYBODY IS WELCOME WITH THEIR OWN IDEAS AND BELIEFS. ACTIVE ATTITUDE IN TAKING CARE OF ONESELF IS EMPHASISED AS WELL AS THE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE WHO REALLY CANNOT DO IT THEMSELVES.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
MAKING IT POSSIBLE TO COMBINE A WORKING, CAREER BASED LIFE AND A GOOD FAMILY LIFE WITH A HUSBAND AND SEVERAL CHILDREN. ASSURING CHILD FAMILIES A BETTER STANDARD OF LIVING. TAKING CARE OF A BALANCED AND HIGH- QUALITY EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN ALL FINLAND.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?

POSITIVE: YOU LEARN A LOT EVERY DAY, YOU MEET INTERESTING PEOPLE, YOU CAN HAVE A FEELING OF ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING TO IMPROVE HOW THINGS ARE DONE.
NEGATIVE: THE DAYS ARE EXTREMELY LONG, YOU HAVE TO WORK DURING WEEKENDS TOO, AS A NEWCOMER THERE IS A LOT TO LEARN AND THAT GIVES YOU A LOT OF HOMEWORK.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that? I TAKE THIS AS A
PROFESSION, AND I TRY TO AVOID CHEAP MEDIA ATTENTION, BUT IT CERTAINLY IS MORE THAN THAT – IT’S A WAY OF LIFE. I INTEND TO BE A POLITICIAN FOR 3 TO 4 TERMS AND MY PLAN IS TO DO SOMETHING ELSE TOO BEFORE I RETIRE.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
AT THE MOMENT I’M MORE THAN SATISFIED WITH WHAT I’M DOING NOW.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?

I’M AFRAID IT’S A SIGN OF THE FACT THAT LIFE HAS BECOME RATHER EASY.
PEOPLE IN GENERAL HAVE VERY LITTLE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. THEN, THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORRIES FEEL THAT THEY ARE NOT HEARD, UNFORTUNATELY. NATURALLY, ALSO THE EFFECT OF MEDIA MAKING POLITICS A FORM OF CIRCUS HAS DIMINISHED THE VALUE OF POLITICIANS.

What should be done to change this situation? CHANGE THE ATTITUDE OF THE MEDIA,
BUT THEN AGAIN, SOME OF WHAT IS BROUGHT UP IN THE MEDIA IS THE FAULT OF POLITICIANS THEMSELVES…

What are your professional or personal projects for the future? ONLY TO BE A
GOOD MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND POLISH THE IMAGE OF POLITICIANS BY BEING THAT.

Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I decided to come a politician because the public health care in Finland was in trouble.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
My mother was strongly on the right (conservative) and my father in the center.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
It was a great pleasure and honour to be elected to the Finnish Parliament because a had a mission: to improve the health care system in Finland.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
international co-operation, free-trading, good health care for all citizens and peace.

How could you present The National Coalition Party to our readers who don’t know it?
Kansallinen Kokoomus (Coalition Party Finland) is for all citizens who want to work for freedom and peace and take care of the poor and disables.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
My priorities are to improve the health care system in Finland.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Positive are the colleagues and people working in the parliament.
Negative is that the conservative party is on the opposition.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
I work 100 % as a member of Finnish Parliament.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I want to work in the Finnish Parliament as well as possible and I am not willing to change to profession.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
I do not think that the European people are less and less interested in politics. I think it is the opposite. We are harmonizing more and more activities in Europe and it needs much work and negotiations.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
At the moment I work in the Social- and health committee and Administration committee. And I have also established a group of “Boating and Marine life protection”, which has 20 active members in the Parliament.

Maija Perho

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I didn’t especially decide to become a politician. Since youth I have always participated different kind of activities for example school and student politics.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
As a student I really have thought my political view because in 60′s we had strong left wing in student politics.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
To settle as a candidate at the parliamentary election was a natural decision after my step-by-step political career. I have been with both local and regional political decision-making organisations and also in different positions in my own party.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Equality, tolerancy, truthfulness, equality of possibilities (for example to study), commitment.

How could you present the National Coalition Party to our readers who don’t know it?
National Coalition Party is a center-right-party in finnish political map and its basic values are responsibility, the equality of possibilities, moniarvoisuus and entrepreunership.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
Better employment, prevention of social displacement, reconciliation of work and familylife and good and effective healthcare.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
It is positive to have the possibility to get information and knowledge about different sides of society and societal issues and also possibilities to remedy social grievances. To be “a public animal” without privacy is negative, also underestimation of politics and politicians is sad.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
To be a poltician needs professional attitude, it means fulltime job, but it cannot longlife profession because of unpredictable voters.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
It had something to do with socialpolitics either in public or NGO-sector, because my previous profession was socialdirector in the city of Turku.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
The economic resources are limited, but during the election campaigns politicians are used to promise more than it is realistic. The voters are dissapointed with empty promises.

What should be done to change this situation?
Simply less empty promisies -more action.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
To become once more elected as a member of parliament.

Heli Passio

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I’m not quite sure if it was any kind of decision it just happened. I have already made up my mind not to become a politician (my father and my grandfather had been politicians and I valued them as a childperspective) but still somehow it fascinated me and here I am.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
No, not strong political belifs but strong sense of fairness.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
Yes.

Why?
As I said before I knew also the negative sides of being politician (from my family) and I thought really thoroughly wheather it was the kind of life I really wanted to have.

How could you present The Finnish Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
It is international party, member of Socialist International. Main ideas is freedom, equality and solidarity. It was founded over 100 years ago and still it has the mission.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
international, responsible, human, equal, strong values

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
positive: there is no two days similar, it is interesting to meet all kind of people and to have an opportunity to influence decisions and to have wide information almost about anything you ever want to know.

negative: is there? you should be around 24 hours per day.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It is more like lifestyle.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
No idea!

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
If I knew the answer we wouldn’t be wondering this problem. Do the people and the politicians talk different language? Is it the way that some things just happen no matter what politicians says? Too many questins too few answers, futurechallenges with this problem are large,wide and important.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
I think he was elected because of his ideas and because those people didn’t find the answers from the traditional partys. Tony Halme is known as “tough guy” and voters might have thougt that if Tony is MP he is going to put every other MPs and that way certain things in order. He represents the extreme right and we have seen those movements rise around the Europe.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
Professional project -to do my job as well as I can, not to let any voters down.
Personal project – to be a better person and that way be able to give more light and joy to others.

Risto Kuisma

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
As a young 21 year old trade union activist 1968, I decided to participate in politics on a local level. I was elected as a member of the Kouvola city government in 1973. 1975 I started working for the trade union movement, first as a lawyer and then 1978 as a president, and stopped actively participat-ing in politics.
1994 I gave up my career in the trade union movement and returned to work as a lawyer.  1995 I was elected to the parliament, and since that I have been a full time politician.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Very strong. I was strongly against injustice and for justice. My values were left-wing.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
In 1975 the decision was so difficult, that I gave up politics and chose a career in the trade union movement.  In 1995 I considered a long time before I became a full time politician.

How could you present The Finnish Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The Finnish Social Democratic party is a 100 year old party. It has been the largest party in
Finland almost throughout its whole history. The English Labour Party is a brother party for the Finnish Social Democratic Party.
After 1918 the communists left the Social Democratic party and formed their own party, which now functions as Vasemmistoliitto (The Left Alliance).  The last three head of states in Finland have been social democrats.  The chairman of the Social Democratic party, Paavo Lipponen, was prime minister 1995-2003. The Finnish Social Democratic party is a moderate left-wing party.

Has The Finnish Social Democratic Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
The Finnish parliament was founded 1905. The Social Democratic Party has always been represented in it. The party was founded late in the 1900-century, and got its present name in 1903.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Left-wing, moderate, established, international, social democratic

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
I
t’s positive, that one can make the world better and have power to participate in decisions that affect everyone.  As a politician, I can promote social justice.  I have taken that as my mission in life. The negative aspects are, that there is a lot of plotting and intrigues in politics. Things progress slowly, and it’s difficult to achieve results. Politicians are poorly appreciated and the media treats politicians badly.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
Politics is more than a profession; it’s a calling and a purpose in life.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I would maybe return to work for the trade union movement, or then become a full time writer.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Politics is complicated. Political options are not clear enough.  The parties a too much alike.  The ap-preciation of politics is poor.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections?
Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
Mr. Tony Halme got protest votes.  He got votes from people who usually don’t vote at all. His ideas, some of which were such we call racist and populistic, were not new.  His success was a result of his person and performance.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I
will continue as a Member of Parliament and aim at higher positions in politics. In my personal life I’m planning on making a doctoral thesis.  The problem is, that my current duties take up all my time and strength so completely, that there is no time to start new projects.

Rosa Meriläinen

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I started as an activist. NGO-world is still close to me. When you realise, that you can really make a difference and work for a better world, you can’t stop.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
As a child I was a communist. I wanted to believe, that human nature is good and altruistic.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
No it wasn’t. To be a parliamentarian isn’t a real profession. I’m still quite young and if I want to, I can make many different careers during my lifetime. It’s never too late to choose differently. But right now I really enjoy my work in parliament.

How could you present The Green League of Finland to our readers who don’t know it?
Our main task is to make an ecological turn for Finland and for the world. We think that society must be based on sustainable development and equality. The roots of the Finnish Greens as a political movement go back to the direct action tradition of the late 1970′s when a growing awareness of the deterioration of the state of the enviroment found a counterpart in movements promoting alternative ideas in social policy and rejuvenating grassroots democracy. The Finnish Greens first took part in parliamentary elections in 1983.

When did The Green League of Finland started to be considered as a major party in the Finnish political life?
The big change was in the 1995 parliamentary elections when Greens got 9 seats in the Finnish Parliament. After the elections, a broadly-based “rainbow”-government was formed, and the seat of the Minister of Enviroment was held by former Green party chair and MP, Pekka Haavisto.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Environment, equality, solidarity, global, future.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Positive aspects are of course the possibility to change things in society and learn a lot. Negative aspect is a continuos frustration and sense of being too lazy and stupid.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It’s not a real profession. We are elected and it’s an honor, not a job you do for living.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I’m really happy with my life as it is. But it would be nice to be a decadent baroness and an artist.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
People are interested in society and social questions. That’s politics also. People are more and more interested on activism and NGO’s. It is a good sign. The old structures of democracy like parliaments and governments haven’t bee able to keep their promises. We haven’t been worth trusting.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
People are looking for politicians who are real human beings, not answering machines. He has charisma and speaks about the everyday-life experiences of uneducated people. The old left should think carefully, why they don’t do that. I don’t believe that everyone who has voted for mr Halme are racists.

Sinikka Mönkare

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
When I graduated and became a doctor, I was also the mother of small children, and I wanted to be able to influence health care in my hometown and so I decided to go into local politics. I am now on that road.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes. I have always believed in public contribution.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
No it wasn’t at the time when in 1987 I was elected member of parliament. The desire to enter into national politics came about already earlier.

How could you present The Finnish Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The SDP is a 100-year-old labour party, an all-round party, which has been very much involved in the creation of the Finnish welfare society.

Has The Finnish Social Democratic Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
Yes, for 100 years, at times in the opposition and for long periods responsible for the government.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Liberty, brotherhood, equality, justice and joint responsibility.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
As a politician, I am able to promote matters that are important to me as well as influence them. Being a public figure can be stressful and involves a lot of hard work.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It is more than just a profession – it is about realising ideals and changing the world.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I am very happy with my present situation.

As the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, what will be your priorities for the near future?
In order to secure the future of our welfare society – to clarify our social security system, secure the funding of our health insurance system and promote the ability to cope at work. For my part, I want to influence the correction of problems in our health care services.

You were already Minister of Social Affairs and Health from 1995 to 1999. Do you feel that the social situation in Finland has changed?
Yes, it has changed. Unemployment has been almost halved but long-term unemployment has not decreased sufficiently. Some members of the population have become excluded.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Society becomes more complicated; people feel that they are not able to influence things.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
He appealed to people who have been excluded and such people who no longer believe in traditional means of influencing matters.

Eva Biaudet

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
It is something that just happened. Suddenly I found myself in a situation where I could no longer avoid to be called a politician by profession. But the truth is, that it was a secret dream of mine from quite a young age.
Already in school I was elected into different decisionmaking bodies, representing the pupils.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes I was a strong opponent of death penalty in the world, I fought against nuclear power and I was active in development issues conserning the third world. I have always had a strong global consience.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
It was a little of a mistake. I succeded in my first national elections better than expected.
The voters decided for me.

How could you present The Swedish People’s Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The party is a liberal party with a strong social consience. We represent the swedish speaking people in Finland, but have a growing support from likeminded finnish-speaking Finns too. We are strong in human rights and international affairs. We are a small party with respect for the fact that our society has to be eqaually supportive to people from very different backgrounds and with different life situations. We have participated in all governments during the last 25 years.

Has The Swedish People’s Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
Yes it has been in parliament from our independence.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Openminded, human, socialliberal, constructive, visionary.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
It is exciting, you learn something all the time and you have a possibility to be in the process of making history.
It is also quite a lot of hard work, sometimes too much, and you put yourself on the line all the time. It is the most insecure job you can have.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
I try to keep it a profession but it seems to fill my life quite globally.
Lucky for me I have four children who occupy a desent part of me too.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I honestly cant say. Perhaps I would enjoy the challenges of working in an international organisation. I still would like to make the world a better place…

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
We politicians have to look ourselves in the mirror naturally, if this is so.
Often we get too booring and get hung up on nonsense.
On the other hand people are interested in political matters, such as globalisation. Influencing and changing big development issues or local wellbeeing can be done. Politics is one very good way to try. And cooperation both nationally and internationally with different actors is necessary. So if one is satisfied one can lay back and see, but if not then one has to be involved in politics in someway to change matters.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
I hope that it was a big joke for most people. But it was also a statement against “the system” by people who feel left out in some way. I dont believe that his voters know anything about his opinions.

What images do you have of France and French people?
Beautiful language, good food and wine, wonderful country, romantic men, sometimes arrogant in politics. My brothers family live in France and I am a little worried about the lack of feminist concoiusnes in his daughters. I do my best to fill in nordic values here. (ha ha)

Is there a French town or region that you particularly appreciate? Why?
Many. Paris ofcourse. Camargue, Provence, Normandie…

If you had to choose one French person that could, to your point of view, well represent the image you have of France and French people… who would it be?
No I cant think of just one. France is a multicultural very pluralistic country with plenty of different kind of celebrities, in politics, in arts, in fashion. For me it is the plentitude of differencies that is so enchanting.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I will be working as a deputé the next four years in the committee of finance, covering all sectors. This way I will be able to be an all around politician with perhaps a special focus on children and the future after all. I hope I will have a little bit more time to spare to be a proper mother. The years as minister in the government were hard for my kids too.

Jari Vilén

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
It was the Parliamentary elections in 1979 where the National Coalition Party won a landslide victory, but the party was still kept in opposition. I found this very unfair and wanted to find the reasons for this. This is how I became interested in politics and little by little this interest has taken over me.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I still have strong political beliefs and a belief in politics.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
It was not really a decision I made. It all went very naturally, once you show your interest in politics and have ideas of how to develop it, the duties start to flow your direction.

How could you present The National Coalition Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The National Coalition Party is a bourgeois party with long traditions but a modern view of the world around us.

Has The National Coalition Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
The National Coalition Party was founded on December 9, 1918, at a time when Finland’s fromer party division had grown outdated as a result of the independence in 1917. It was one of the very first political parties in Finland and the guiding idea behind the establishment of the party was the achievement of national unity through the promotion of social justice, among other things.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
The national coalition party is bourgeois, individualistic, supporter of social market economy,

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
It is hard to live with the lack of privacy. On the positive note I should say, that playing an active role in the politics really is the only way to make a change in the society.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
This is a way of life, not just a profession. It also is a life-long learning experience, one has to build opinions af a variety of matters and drive for what you think is best for your region or your country.

When you became Minister for Foreign Trade and European Affairs in 2002, did you have the feeling that it was the achievement of something?
I felt it was a recognition of my previous work, I had been active in politics for more than 20 years. But there was also an element of surprise in the process.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I don´t feel like changing anything much, but if I had to, I could see myself working in an international NGO to tackle globalisation.

Why do you think that  in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Life in Europe is secure and stable, most people don’t need an urgent change.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
Tony Halme was able to draw to the polls people who don’t usually vote. If he adapts to the parliamentary working habits he will probably lose these radical voters. If he does not adapt, then it will be difficult for him to really make a change of the system.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
To participate in drawing my parties future political guidelines. The National Coalition Party will be in the opposition for the near future, but we will not be a quiet opposition.

Kaarina Dromberg

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I became interested in politics or should I say became interested in social issues when I was teenager and gradually I grew into politics. I also had political ideals and models such as Mr Juha Rihtniemi, the former chairman of the National Coalition Party. I was actively involved at the National Coalition Youth Association. Later I wanted to lobby on women’s right and our status.

I have to say that I step by step grew up into politics. I started my career as a politician in municipal elections and then in 1983 I was elected in the general elections to the Finnish Parliament.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I have always believed in independent initiative and entrepreneurship. I believe that with your own work you have an impact on others wellbeing. I come from an entrepreneur family so I have a great faith in people and how they with their own work can improve others life.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
It was not difficult to me but it was no easy matter for my husband if he is nowadays my momentous backer.

How could you present the National Coalition Party to our readers who don’t know it?
National Coalition Party or Kokoomus as we Finns know it is a true ideological party which have a lot to answer for. First of all National Coalition Party is a civilised party. In market economy system one should not forget humanity whilst moving ahead with the plans. Our party sets great store by environmental matters and durable development. National Coalition Party also wants to maintain affluent society and our national identity. I would say that throughout its history, three ideological emphases have co-existed within the party, those of social reformism, conservatism and liberalism. To this day, varying conservative ideological tendencies exist side by side in the National Coalition Party.

Has the National Coalition Party always been present in the Finnish political life?
Yes even our party was 21 years in opposition and finally in 1987 became a government party. The National Coalition Party was founded 1918 at a time when Finland’s former party division had grown outdated as a result of the independence achieved by the nation in 1917. The guiding idea behind the establishment of the party was the achievement of national unity through the promotion of social justice, among other things. Among the Prime Ministers who have come from the National Coalition Party are Mr P.E. Svinhufvud, Mr Edvin Linkomies, Mr J.K. Paasikivi and Mr Harri Holkeri.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Knowledge, know-how, humanity and responsibility.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
As politician one can contribute to the development of society and by exploiting networks one is able to have large influence over things. Negative aspect is that you are round the clock in the public eye. It is very difficult to have privacy and private life. And as a woman and a mother and a wife I have to say that sometimes it is very difficult to balance with domesticity and working life and run to time.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
Unquestionably it is much more than that. It enriches your life!

When you became Minister of Culture, did you have the feeling that it was the achievement of something?
I think that it was achievement. It is because I think that I am able to make the most of myself. I mean, you are able to use your knowledge and know-how, pick your brains and you can pull strings. After all minister is a man of substance.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I would be an enterpriser, self-employed person.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Yes. I think the reason for this is that politics is too much as power game. The real issues at grass roots, the ordinary matters in everyday life are buried or trampled underfoot by power struggle. Holding or building court is more important to some politicians.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
As far as I can see, it is not difficult to be populist.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I was re-elected in the general elections into the Finnish Parliament and I was elected as a chairperson for one of the special committees, the Committee for Education and Culture. I was chairperson for that committee also earlier in 1999 – 2002. So I cannot say that I turn over a new leaf. Life goes on and that makes life worth living.

One of my personal projects is that, well and truly, upcoming summer I am once again going to Italy with my husband.

Antti Kalliomäki

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
In 1982 I was asked to be a presidential elector candidate for Mauno Koivisto in the presidential elections. When I gave my commitment, it was then natural to stand for a seat in the next parliamentary elections.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
As part of my upbringing, I had an interest in politics, though it was more focused on reading political history than on practical participation.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
Not at all difficult. It was a new challenge, and I’ve always liked challenges.

How could you present the Finnish Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
SDP is building a just society and world founded on freedom, equality and solidarity. Within such a society, everyone, according to one’s capabilities, contributes to the advancement of one’s own well-being and to the furtherance of the common welfare. According to opinion sur-veys, SDP is once again Finland’s largest party, though in this year’s parliamentary elections, the party came in second by a narrow margin. In Finland, SDP also has traditions going back over a hundred years.

If you had to describe this party in 5 words…
The party that stands for justice, equality, collective responsibility, democracy and people’s freedom and joint accountability.

As the Minister of Finance, what will be your priorities for the near future?
The most important task is to strengthen the vitality of the Finnish welfare society. This calls for, among other things, raising the degree of employment and lowering unemployment in order to improve the dependency ratio compared with the present level. The work will require structural changes, notably, within working life and taxation.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
The best part is the broad variety of the work. At least you can’t say that a workday in politics is dull. The problem is that there’s certainly more to be done than one person can manage to do.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
This isn’t exactly a profession, but it does call for a professional kind of know-how. You might say that it’s a kind of fixed-term alliance with Beelzebub, but according to rules that the Crea-tor approves.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
If I could get a whole pile of mathematical ability – just like that – I’d take up being a re-searcher in the area of astronomy and cosmology.

Why do you think that in Europe people are becoming less and less interested in
politics?
For many citizens, the European Union is a large and vague entity. The EU should be brought closer to ordinary people – as much as this can be done. In addition, through their own actions, politicians should be worthy of people’s trust. There should be improved trans-parency about how political decisions affect people’s daily lives.

How do you explain the results of Mr Tony Halme during the last parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
Halme’s election result tells that people are becoming somewhat fed up with traditional politi-cians – or with the conventional way of engaging in politics, “politicking.” Regardless of the party they belong to, politicians often have to take decisions that part of the citizens don’t like. This means that in an election battle, candidates that take populistic stands now and then get over the threshold for election to parliament.

What images do you have of France and French people?
Back when I was a top athlete in the international sports world, my French competitors were the toughest of all. In politics, it seems to be the same way. The French are brilliant, self-reliant professionals who stand up for their country and their Gallic heritage in a way that can only be admired. I’ve nevertheless avoided saying this to them directly.

Is there a French town or region that you particularly appreciate? Why?
I’ve visited the Kourou space centre in French Guiana. In its own league, for me it’s up there with Paris.

If you had to choose one French person that could, to your point of view, well represent the image you have of France and French people… who would it be?
Here, it’s probably safest to take a look far enough back into history. In that case my choice is certainly Armand Jean du Plessis (Cardinal Richelieu) who was France’s prime minister from 1624 to 1642. For me, this founder of the modern system of government (unless this title is to be given to Sweden’s Gustav Vasa, who lived a hundred years earlier) still epitomises the essence of being French: the best interests of the French State above all, but adapting this in the best way to the realities of the rest of the world. Richelieu’s life and “Frenchness” were aptly described back in the time of Pope Urban VIII, who said “If there is a God, Riche-lieu will have much to answer for. If there is not, he has done very well.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
To act in accordance with Richelieu’s French doctrines on behalf of my own country.

Paula Lehtomäki

Could you tell our readers at what point you decided to become a politician?
I have always taken an interest in politics, but I don’t think you can ever truly just decide to become a politician, it depends on the voters. My career started in the 1996 municipal elections. I was elected to Parliament in 1999, and the following year chosen as one of the Vice Chairmen of the party.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Not so strong, but in my family we have always had a very positive attitude for the participation in political activities, which is very important.

Was the choice of becoming a “full-time politician” difficult to make? Why?
Not really. I made a choice of candidacy. I considered politics as challenging alternative.

How could you describe the Finnish Centre Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The Finnish Centre Party was founded in 1906. The party speaks for individual freedom and independence and encourages independent initiative and enterprise. Tolerance, freedom of thought, and responsibility for the disadvantaged also represent the party’s ideological set of values. Last elections in march the party became the biggest one in Finland.

If you could pick up only five aspects, what would they be?
Personal freedom and responsibility, justice, democracy, private ownership and respect for nature.

As the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, what are your priorities for the near future?
My priority is to create coherence between trade and development policies. The aim is a win-win situation where both trade and development gain from this combination.

What are the positive and negative aspects in being a politician?
One positive aspect is that this work is extremely challenging. You have to be very well prepared and know your field of responsibility. The decisions that are made have many dimensions and it is rewarding to play a part in building this society. I like meeting new people and discussing with them. Taking your chances and then doing your very best is rewarding.
Dealing with your own inadequacy is the hardest part. You just don’t have time for everything and have to limit yourself. Losing your privacy is also a negative aspect.

Do you consider being a Minister as a profession or is it more than that?
It is definitely more than a profession, because I have invested in it so much. It is a life style and takes practically all of my time. It requires a lot of stamina and a thick skin!

If you had the possibility to choose some other occupation, what would you like to do?
I’ll think about it when the time comes.

Why do you think that in Europe people seem to be getting increasingly estranged from politics?
This phenomenon is very alarming. I don’t think that people are less political though, because, for example, non-governmental organizations are more popular than ever. We just have to show people that politics is the most effective instrument in the tool kit to change the world.

How do you explain the success of Mr Tony Halme during the latest parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
The rise of extreme right movements is a common phenomenon all over Europe. I think is shows that there is a reserve of people who need an urgent change and get active in politics if there is a candidate that speaks their language.

What are your professional o
r personal projects for the future?
Right now I want to concentrate on doing my best at work until the next elections. We’ll see what happens after that.

Mauri Pekkarinen

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I first got interested in politics when I was a 23 or 24 year-old student at the University of Jyväskylä. It was the seventies and as the left wing movement entered the university community, I felt someone had to strike back.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I first took an interest in economics and society in general. At the age of 24, I begun to take part in party politics.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
It was not a difficult choice at all. I wanted to become a professional. The only way of really being one, is to be a “full time politician”.

How could you present The Centre Party of Finland to our readers who don’t know it?
The Centre Party is the biggest party in Finland. It is a strong party locally as well having more members in municipal politics than any other party in Finland.

The Centre Party has been represented in the government most often. Our most long-term president, Urho Kekkonen, also rose up from the Centre Party. The party had a leading role in the government also in 1991-1995. This was when Finland joined the European Union and was raised up from the deepest economical crisis of its history.

In the last Parliamentary elections in March 2003, the Centre Party ran its campaign under the title “brighter alternative”. It won 55 seats out of the 200.

Has The Centre Party of Finland always been present in the Finnish political life?
The Finnish Centre Party was founded in 1906, i.e. before Finland’s independence, acquiered in 1917.

If you had to describe this party with 5 words…
Social safety and freedom of choice, regional equality, entrepreneurship, ecologically sustainable economy, and a decentralised, democratic decision making process are important values for the Centre Party.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
I consider myself lucky to have such an interesting job – it brings something new every day. It is rewarding to be able to contribute to the important work of consructing a fair society.

The negative aspects are those of a hard worker in any field: one constantly feels there is not enough time… Being a Minister and a public person can be tireing and stressful at times.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
Politician is one of the professions that requiere a vocation. It would be impossible to be a politician without a true belief in one’s work. I see it as a very serious and respectable profession, as well as a lifestyle.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I would probably be a sportsman. I used to and still do take sports very seriously. I try to find time to be able to run 5-10 km at least three times a week. I must have a rather competitive character, which has probably helped me to become a “long-distance runner” in politics as well.

You recently became Minister of Trade and Industry, what will be your
Priorities or the priorities of the government regarding Finnish Trade and industry?
It will be of prior importance to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth and thus contribute to diminishing unemployment, to tackle large issues in the field of energy policy such as the carbon dioxide emissions trade between companies in the EU and the building a new nuclear power reactor in Finland. The State’s ownership policy needs up-dating as to be able to meet the challengies of the fast-evolving business environment.

In the Ministry of Trade and Industry we see ourselves as future-makers and renewers. We have a crucial role in promoting research and technology. Directing funds into this sector has proven to be an excellent “life insurance” to our economy.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
I do not think young people have become less interested in politics. They are interested in many things going on in the society. They are also internationally aware. They just sometimes feel direct action is the only way to change things. Political parties should speak the language of the young and attract them into influencing through political action instead of violence for example.

How do you explain the results of Mister Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections? Do you think that he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
Tony Halme is a strong character. His voters have seen him as an answer to their problems. It is up to Tony Halme in his turn to represent his voters in a meaningful way and answer the trust he’s been shown.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
My goal is simply to excel as a Minister and administrate well the workings of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, including of course maintaining good relations with France.

Antti Kaikkonen

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
Well, I guess my voters made this decision. But I’ve been working in politics since 1997, when I started my four year term as a president of youth organisation of the Centre Party. I vas 23 years old at that time.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes, when I was teenager. Nowadays I might be more constructive.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
No, it wasn’t, because I’ve been so strongly interested in politics.

How could you present the Finnish Centre Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The Centre Party of Finland is the biggest party in Finland in the sense of
the amount of members and in the sense of support in general elections. In the latest parliament elections, March 2003, 55 mps (out of 200 in total) were elected from the Centre Party. Our candidates gathered 689 391 votes (24,7 %).

The basic principles of the Centre Party grow from the belief in the human resources of the people, in the importance of humanity and tolerance and in the meaning of co-operation making use for everybody. Social safety and freedom of choice, regional equality, entrepreneurship , ecologically sustainable, over the generations lasting relation with nature and a decentralised, democratic decision making are important values for the Centre Party.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near
future?
To raise questions of children and young people, equality, health and sustainable development.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
The positive things are that it is possible to affect different questions.
Negative aspects, sometimes, are loosing your private life.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It is more than a profession. It is a way of life. And I like it.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you
choose?
Something totally different, I guess. Like a great soccer player. Or a formula one driver, even my name Kaikkonen is pretty close to Raikkonen.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in
politics? What should be done to change this situation?
I don’t want to think that way, but I hope that media takes more responsibility of democracy. It is not only just for fun.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I’m going to concentre more to the different questions of housing politics.
And somehow I will go on with my studies in the university.

Sari Essayah

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I  never made a certain decicion to because a politician but somehow I was driven into it. During my highschool years I was interested in schooldemocracy. Later on I was asked to stand as a muncipal candidate and I took part in the municipal committees and the city council for 6 years. Candidacy in general election was kind of natural continuation in this work.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I was been on runing common concerns, not so much the party´s political views.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
Not really. It´s easier to be a full. Time politician than trying to balance the schedules between the ordinary job and politics.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Christian values and responsible economic policy

How could you present the Green Party to our readers who don’t know it?
Our policy is based on Christian values such as responcibility, charity freedom and equality. In every day politics those values are shown as well in the fiscal policy ( taking care of the weakest in our  society ) as in the family policy ( the welfare of the whole society is based on the welfare of the families. )  Also the enterpreneurs and their spirit of the enterprise should he rewarded.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
Family policy, education policy and reasonable fiscal policy.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Positive aspects: Very social work possibility to influence on common concerns.
Negative aspects: Tight schedules, not enough time for family.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It´s also a position of trust.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you
choose?
My profession before politics was business controller and my education is M. of Sc in Business Administration.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in
politics?
There are probably several reasons for it. One could he that the standard of living is high enough and we have satisfied the basic needs like hunger shelter, education and security.  The another is may be that, there are no longer huge gaps between ideological views of different partics. ( No party is going to make a revolution ) And maybe we politicians are using too much political phraseology and people don´t see the connection between our work and their lives.

What should be done to change this situation?
A revolution is not the answer !
Easiest is to influence on our own behaviour and change the terminology and
make us more understandable.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
To be a good mother and wife. Show charity among other people and be a
competent politician.

Kimmo Kiljunen

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I was politically active already at school age, so this was a natural choice for me.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes, I had.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
No, it wasn’t. As said, it was a natural choice for me – from idealism to politics.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
My basic political values are equality and solidarity.

How could you present The Social Democratic party to our readers who don’t know it?
Defends the welfare society by democratic means.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
To help my country to become more solidar and cosmopolitan.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Possibilities for social interference and far too little time to concentrate in thinking. Also more time to own family is definetly needed.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It’s more of a life-style.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I probably choose to work in some international organisation.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Probably the most stressing social problems are solved.

What should be done to change this situation?
We need more political education in schools, for example.

Päivi Räsänen

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
When I was young, I couldn’t even imagine myself as a politician. I was over 30 years old already, when I came along. I got interested in politics because of the social problems I faced working as a doctor. I also began to think, in what kind of a society my children will grow up.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I had strong ethical opinions about medical subjects. I took part in discussions concerning abortion, euthanasia and the value of human life.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
The worst part of this change was that I had to leave my doctoral profession which I had enjoyd. The change was not so big to my family, because we live quite near the capital city, Helsinki, so that I can travel every day from home to work. The work in the parliament takes time, but so did the work in hospital, too.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Family, human value, justice, neighbourship, security.

How could you present the Christian Democratic party to our readers who don’t
know it?
The party is highly interested in making better the everyday life of families, elderly, handicapped and unemployed persons, and improving the health care system. We struggle to maintain our welfare state in this globalising world.
For example, we support free system of education, and we try to help small entrepreneurs to come into business. We consider human value immeasurable. The Christian Democratic party was founded in 1958.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
Since last spring I have been a member of Committee for the Future. That’s why I’ll concentrate on employment, national and international economy, and the problems of Finnish social security system.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Positive aspect is the possibility to influence on different matters, and to participate in the social conversation. This is also a great look-out spot, because we get much information and expert opinions about various subjects.
Negative aspects are the gap between goals and possibilities or resources, feeling insufficient and constant hurry.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
First of all I think it’s a responsible position, because I represent a big group of Finnish voters.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you
choose?
I would work again as a doctor or become a housewife.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in
politics?
It’s a hard question, and to get the answear you probably have to examine the historical continuum and the change in western social life form. I think one reason is that the media is becoming more and more entertaining and people don’t have the energy to get excited of difficult and complicated political questions on your spare time. In fact, political questions are quite fascinating, if you only see the hard core in them. Usually they are about our every day life.
The truth is, that somebody always rules and leads the country, even if the majority of people wouldn’t care about politics. One might think, people don’t care because they are satisfied with prevailing circumstances. I think the opposite on grounds of the mails and letters I get from the citizens. People are very dissatisfied with some parts of the system, but yet they are not courageous enough to vote an alternative party.

What should be done to change this situation?
It’s important to really listen to people’s worries and problems when they contact you. If somebody listens to you and wants to change the world a better place to live, you get much more interested in voting and in politics. Otherwise people get frustrated and that seems to advance the interests of the powerful.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I keep on totally concentrating on political questions. Personal projects are personal…

Janina Andersson

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I have never decided to become a politician, and still after 9 years as a MP I have some difficulties to think of myself as one. I just always have felt a strong need to discuss and influence on things. When I was younger I never could say no if somebody asked me to be active and take part in something.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Yes. It is really funny to read for example a libretto for a ballet that I wrote at the age of 12, because it’s a strong green manifesto. Since then I have learned that the world isn’t as black and white as I thought then. But hopefully that little passionate girl who wanted to save the world will keep on living inside of me forever.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
I was 19 when the greens asked me to enter as a candidate in general election, and it was the first time in my life I was allowed to vote. I said immediately yes, and since then the green family has played a major role in my life. I felt like coming home when I learned to know the greens. Now when I have two sons it is much harder to be a “full-time politician” than it was as a student and not yet a MP. I got my first son at the same time as I was elected to the parliament at the age of 24, and the change to become a mother was much bigger than the change to become a MP.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Every child has the right to be loved.

How could you present the Green Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The main interest group that we are working for is the generation that is yet not born or is still very young. We should live on this planet as if we had borrowed it from our children. The Green Party tries to come up with solutions for our modern society that could give everybody a better opportunity to live a peaceful life with their loved ones. Human rights, justice, fairness, equality and sustainable development are the values the growing Green League is working for.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near future?
Budget, financial aid to students (student grant), public transport, more money to local governments for basic services such as education/schools, health care, taking care of the aged etc. In my opinion there is no need to take more national debt but instead the possible additional expenses should be compensated by raising environmental taxes.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
I have marvellous friends in the green parliamentary group, also my assistant, and I really enjoy learning new things and meeting new people all the time. Sometimes I get too upset with the political game, but it’s for a big help to be able to share my feelings with the other greens. I would like to have a shorter way to my work. Now I have to sit on a train 2h+2h, every day.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
It feels more like a mission, but not a Mission Impossible.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
It would be interesting also to work as a journalist and to try to change the world with power of the media.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
We are living in a world that runs faster all the time and the feeling of competition and selfishness has grown. Politics needs people to take time to think, discuss and care.

What should be done to change this situation?
We should follow the example of France and shorten the working hours. The society should show that winning and competition in economic growth is of no use if we feel depressed and stressed. We should rather do the measuring by how happy and loved the children and our elderly people feel.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
My project of saving the Baltic Sea for the future generations is still going on.

Satu Hassi

Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
There was never a clear decision “to become a politician”. In the first half of the 1980ies I was very angry for some local decisions in my home town Tampere, destyroying of an old factory which was an important part of the cultural landscape of the downtown area. At the same time the Green movement was emerging in Finland, and in my home town also. I knew some of the first Greens.
I was also active in some other grassroot movements and in the feminist
movement. As an youg energy engineer I was also deeply worried about the unsustainable energy policy of the whole rich part of the world. When I was asked to become one of the candidates in the Green list in the communal elections in 1984 I agreed. I was elected to the city council. In 1989 we had a very big city planning fight, again about an old factory area in downtown, and I became a kind of personification of the movement wanting to protect these factories. In the next parliament elections in 1991 I was elected to the parlament and since that I have been re-elected into the parliament for 3 times.
But I feel this to be a phase in my life rather than a career.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
During my university study years I was a very enthusiastic participant of the
left student movement.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
I have never made that kind of decision. I have just decided to candidate and I have been elected. But I do not think that I will continue this until I reach the retirement age.

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Only a fair and just world can be a safe world.

How could you present the Green party to our readers who don’t know it?
We want to deepen the democracy. A true democracy is not only elections in some regular intervals but also true interaction with the decision makers and the citizens.
We want to build peace and global justice. In the present world the richest 20 % earn 80 times as much compared to the poorest 20%. Such a world cannot be safe.
We want to build an ecologically sustainable world, with the help of modern intelligent technology, and as a part of that a transfer from fossil and nuclear energy to renewable energy sources. Without ecological sustainability we reduce the possibilities of future generations.

As a member of the Parliament, what will be your priorities for the near
future?
My priority nr. 1 is global climate policy. To promote the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol. But it is important to understand that Kyoto Protocol is only the first step. To combat climate change we must in the next 50-100 years recude the global greenhouse gas emissions with two thirds from the present level, and the rich countries must do even more. This means that we must build an entirely new kind of energy economy.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Positive: Interesting and challenging.
Negative: The work is endless and you have to face hate, anger and negative competition almost every day.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
When you are a full time politician it is a profession. But you need to have a passion for a better world. But I hope that for me being politician is not the last thing to do before I get retired.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
I was a freelance writer when I was first time elected to the Parliament and I think to return to that work again some day.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in
politics?
Things get more and more complicated. It is more and more difficult to follow
the political decision making.

What should be done to change this situation?
The media has a great responsibility. I wish that there would be more reporting about the real substances dealt in political decision making. Of course also we politicians should speak a clearer language.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I have a plan for my next book but I do not know when I will have time to write that book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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