Posted by: admin in: Politics
Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I joined the Center Party after the parliamentary elections of 1991 at the age of 16. At the same time, I started active participation in the Center Party youth movement of Central Finland.
When I was elected to the municipal council of JyvÃ¤skylÃ¤, it was found sensible that I should also enter as a candidate for the parliamentary elections to be held in 1999. The electoral campaign was a pleasant experience and I took it seriously. More than 200 electoral events where I appeared brought about the desired result.
Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
I have always wanted to work for causes which I find just and very strongly desired to influence to remedy prevailing social evils. In the beginning of my studies in 1995, my interest in politics was great, but I didn’t yet even dream of an MP’s career. My purpose was to finish my studies as soon as possible and then have a look at career options. In the autumn of 1996, however, I became the MEP Paavo VÃ¤yrynen’s domestic affairs’ special assistant, and that function contributed to direct me towards politics also as a profession.
Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make?
No, because I sort of drifted into politics little by little, first through positions of trust, then through municipal politics and special assistantship.
If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
A convinced centrist defender of the Finnish provinces.
How could you present the Finnish Centre Party to our readers who don’t know it?
The Finnish Centre Party became in the spring 2003 parliamentary elections the biggest party of Finland. The party chairman Matti Vanhanen currently acts as Finland’s Prime Minister. The party supports maintenance of equality in regional development between Helsinki and the rest of the country, a living countryside; it wants to dismantle excessive bureaucracy related to enterprise in order to create new jobs, and aims to guarantee Finland’s independence and military non-alliance within the enlarging European Union.
As a member of the Parliament, what will your priorities be for the near future?
To influence those matters about which I have spoken and written during the last few years www.neittaanmaki.fi/kirjoitukset.html and to remedy whatever social evils whenever they arise.
What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
Right in the beginning (spring 1999) I experienced quite a disappointment when my party the Centre was left in the opposition. This narrowed my own and my party’s potential influence quite a lot.
Another surprise was the importance of seniority when important commission mandates here distibuted: A first-term MP is given only lesser-valued positions. During the second term, this has been seen positively from my point of view: I finally could have a seat that I had aspired in the Foreign Affairs Committee that I valued, and also became a full member of the Finnish delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. I am also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee.
Most of the parliamentary work is done in the committees because there you really go deeply into the subject matters through expert hearings and draw up reports of the government proposals. As a whole, parliamentary work has responded quite well to my expectations, and my work is versatile and interesting.
Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
I feel like being in a job which has meaning and where I can influence the realization of things that I find just. It is more than a profession.
If you had the possibility to totally change your profession, what would you choose?
As a child, I wanted to be a farmer, and as a youngster a record-dealer. Nowadays it is difficult to say for how long there will be enough drive to stay in politics, yet for the time being I have no other plans or wishes in the horizon.
Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
Politicians and the decisions that they make have become estranged from citizens everywhere in Europe. Especially the EU has brought about problems in the form of numerous mischievous practices and a secretive decision-making culture. People don’t conceive voting as a channel of influence anymore which is alarming.
What should be done to change this situation?
The decision makers should descend more often than now among the people to discuss matters and justify their decisions. This leads to a natural mutual interaction which enhances the possibilities of influence of both partners. In my opinion, a referendum about the EU constitution should be organized in all EU member states; only thus an authentic legitimacy can be achieved for it.
What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
I try to do my work as well as I can and reach those goals that I have set for this electoral term. In my personal life, my priority is family which consists of my wife and two small children, Artturi who has 2,5 years and Amanda who is 1-year-old but I find time also for hobbies. I have just registered as a museum car an Opel Record 2.3D of the year 1979 which my parents bought 25 years ago then new in Germany when I was 3 years old. I also pursue my remarkable collection of Beatles records.