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