Could you explain to our readers when you decided to become a politician?
I studied Political Sciences at the University of Helsinki, had my first child and wanted to work for better child policy. In 1988 I was elected to Helsinki City Council and in 1996 I started in Parliament.

Did you have strong political beliefs during your youth?
Equality and freedom together.

Was the choice of becoming a “full time politician” difficult to make? Why?
I was planning to continue as a researcher in Social Sciences, but finally, politics attracted me most.I was offered a possibility to work as General Secretary of Women’s organisation in SDP (the Social Democratic Party in Finland).

If you had to describe your political convictions with 5 words…
Investing in people – education and welfare services make economy function efficiently.

How could you present The Social Democratic Party to our readers who don’t know it?
It’s a party with long and international tradition, it works for equality and freedom of people.

As the Minister of Education, what will be your priorities for the near future?
Adult education, decrease of drop-outs among students, and investing in science and development.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a politician?
The work is demanding, but that’s what I like. Irrelevant publicity is a negative aspect in this work.

Do you consider it as a profession or is it more than that?
This is more than a profession, this is a way of life.

If you had the possibility to totally change your profession. What would you choose?
At the moment, I’m very satisfied with this work and I want to do it.

Why do you think that in Europe people become less and less interested in politics?
EU-language, wording is difficult to understand.People feel that desicion-making is too far away from the real life.

What should be done to change this situation?
Openness in decision-making. EU institutions have to be easy enough to understand. People have to know that their voice can be heard in Brussels.

What are your professional or personal projects for the future?
To implement after-school activities in all municipalities in Finland, to strengthen the situation of children and youth with learning problems.