I am running for the European Parliament as a Social Democrat after long pondering and after many requests to do so. It feels like the time is ripe to give back to Finland and Europe after all that has been given to me despite my working-class background. I remember my first day at university when the teacher asked us students, in the lecture hall, how many of us had parents that had a higher education. Almost everyone’s hand went up. Mine did not. That was the moment I understood that I was sitting there against all the odds. There I was amongst the other students despite all the hardships and disadvantages that I had encountered. Despite my dyslexia and years of hard bullying at school. Before the finals of primary school, I had probably been on sick leave for two months due to extreme anxiety and fatigue from all that bullying. So, I did not quite understand how I had managed to fight myself to that lecture hall.
And I remember all those moments when I walked, at a very young age, on the dramatically beautiful beaches of Hangö looking at those ships traveling across the distant horizon. There was something magical and inspiring in those scenes. Hangö is a small town where many people with a tough character live. It is a place that has a tendency to bring up adventurous people who want to see the world. Never did I guess that one day I would fulfill my dreams and start studying political science and have many adventures across the world.
My style is empathetic in my encounters with people from across the world. Despite our differences in our values I encounter people empathetically and with a curiosity to learn something new. My formatting years with all that bullying were difficult. When I got to high school my time was spent rebuilding myself from scratch. My character was rebuilt practicing martial arts at a local association where many tough characters work on mastering the arts with feverish discipline and dedication. Without those people who helped me rebuild my self-confidence I would not be here. Of that I am greatful.
Åbo Akademu Univeristy gave me the freedom to explore intellectually and to build a life without fears of not being accepted. During those years I became an activist with the social democratic student movement. My heart has always beaten to the left with all that humanism and belief that we can build a better mankind. Many people from Hangö are social democratic in their values. So, I suppose my values came already from my upbringing in the local society. There is a belief that each person has an inalienable right to human dignity no matter what their background is.
After Åbo Akademi followed almost two years in Belgium. At first, I studied EU-politics and institutions at the University of Leuven. Later I received the opportunity to do my traineeship the European Parliament. That was a difficult but rewarding job which gave me many valuable practical insights.
When I finally arrived in Helsinki, I had to build myself from scratch rising through the ranks with good colleagues from the Rehabilitation Foundation. In here we do a valuable work for the weakest in our society. We do a valuable job in conducting research, developing models and instruments which aim to integrate marginalized people and immigrants to become an integrated part of our society. It is a valuable work that has given me plenty of insights about the challenges of the welfare state in both Finland and Sweden. Here are many people whom I should thank. You probably know who you are.
Dear friends. I am running to become a Member of the European Parliament despite all the hardships it comes with because I know that I will be useful for our society with my life experiences and with my skills and wits. I want a society that stands for social equality and a society which will be able to provide the same opportunities to the future generations that our generation has had.
During this campaign I will push for different political objectives and projects. However, I will also take great pleasure in listening to what people have in their hearts.
Humanity stands in front of great challenges that have to be resolved in the coming years, such as the climate crisis, the threat to human rights and the growing inequalities in which the rich becomes richer and the poor poorer. The European Union provides us the best way to resolve these great issues of our time. We need progressive social democratic policies to Europe so that we can resolve the climate crisis and safe the Nordic welfare state.
Europe for the many, not for the few!