5 questions with... Martina Dlabajová
Martina Dlabajová (ALDE, CZ) is a Vice-Chair of Parliament’s budgetary control committee.
Martina Dlabajová | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
1. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
Many people - including my colleagues - still don’t know about my motivational traineeships project, called Why Not? (ProcByNe? In Czech). The project aims to encourage young people to achieve their dreams and show them positive examples. We already have over 60 successful alumni who transformed their lives or were offered a job thanks to their traineeship. These vary from shadowing the President of the European Parliament or Czech ministers, to learning the best recipes from the Czech Republic’s top Michelin-starred chef. I am truly proud of this project and of all the young people I have met.
2. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
After grammar school, I decided to move to Italy to study political science. But in the end, I did not end up only studying and living there. I decided to set up my own company in Padua, helping connect local businesses and authorities with EU opportunities. The company was such a success that I later expanded, with new businesses in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and eventually other European countries. Even after 20 years in this business, life has led me eventually back to the roots of my studies - European integration.
3. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
I love books and reading in general. But if there is one particular book that has influenced me the most, I have to say ‘Le Petit Prince’ - ‘The Little Prince’ - written in 1943 by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I am moved by its strong message, which reminds us of who we are and what exactly it is that makes us so special. This book continues to fascinate me. I own one of central Europe’s largest collections of this book - over 200 copies, including editions in many languages and dialects from all over the world. I guess you can tell I am a huge fan.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
As an MEP, I’m used to traveling all the time and even though it might sound ironic, traveling is still the greatest part of my life. I love discovering new places and meeting new people. When I want to slow down, I relax in my house in Zlín, my hometown. I renovated my grandfather’s former ballroom, and I proudly carry on our family’s heritage. This place always fills me up with positive energy.
5. What one item would you save from your home if it was on fire?
As I mentioned, I am a passionate reader. Does my library including all my books count as one object? But saving it would be quite difficult, since it is made of steel and inseparable from the wall. Sixteen men had to carry it into my house.
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