1. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
As a City Councillor, I made an initiative for Helsinki to open free, walk-in mental health clinics. The first two clinics opened in 2019, and it has been a success in treating and preventing mental health problems. People have told me that the clinics have saved lives. Now Helsinki is hopefully expanding the clinics to the whole city.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I filmed a campaign video while swimming in a hole in the ice. Apparently, it was worth freezing for, as I got elected as an MEP (perhaps people just pitied me).
3. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
The election night in 2019. I was a 26-year-old first-time candidate, with a minimal election budget. Before the election, my colleague in our NGO was a bit worried, whether I might go to Brussels. I told him there is a 99,9 percent chance that I won’t. I was wrong, but that made us all happy. It is such an honour to get to work for people, human rights, nature and peace in the Parliament.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
I swim, hike in forests and go to sauna, sometimes every day. Because of the pandemic, I cannot party, but I would love to! I also like chess, but I would not dare to play against my colleague Reinhard Bütikofer (yet).
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
When I was 16, I read Thomas More’s Utopia. I did not agree with him on many issues, but it was striking that already in 1516 he described ideas such as a basic income that are still revolutionary today. For years, I have advocated for universal basic income as a fundamental right. I guess my whole job is all about trying to make utopian visions real.