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The National Coalition Party was founded on December 9, 1918, at a time when Finland’s fromer party division had grown outdated as a result of the independence in 1917.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.