5 Questions with… Heidi Hautala

Heidi Hautala (FI, Greens/EFA) is a Vice-President of Parliament and member of the INTA Committee and DROI Subcommittee
Heidi Hautala | Photo provided by MEP Hautala's office

1. Who have you worked with that has most inspired your career, and how?
The late Professor John Ruggie, father of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. He was thrilled about the European Parliament’s work on due diligence and was a great adviser on responsible business conduct.

2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I was a cofounder of the first vegetarian restaurant in Finland when I was 18. Even more, this idealistic business went on for 25 years.

3. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
I have had a chance to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama several times in Strasbourg, Helsinki and Dharamsala, India. He is very funny, and at the same time constantly thinking how to help his people suffering from the repression by China.

4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
I walk in the meadows with 15 sheep, my regular summer guests. Some tend to jump over the fence, which gives necessary sport to lazy days. In the winter I walk the same meadows covered with one metre of snow (no, climate change is not cancelled).

5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
I am fascinated by Philip Hensher’s The Mulberry Empire, a fantastic novel about “The Great Game” in Central Asia in the 19th century. Written in 1998, it is worth reading again in the light of the disaster in Afghanistan.

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