1. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
Making sure that I communicate clearly and manage expectations. Nothing causes more uncertainty for the people around you than when they lack clarity on what is expected of them. Likewise, it’s very important not to make false promises. These are the keys to building trust.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I would say that being an MEP is quite surprising, but I would not call it an achievement in and of itself. Although I do hope to achieve many things for people through it.
I did work for a while as a labourer at a moving company when I lived in Finland. It was quite demanding and an eye-opening experience, both in regard to the working conditions many people experience and the need for more safety in terms of labour protection laws.
3. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
Running and reading are definitely among my favourite things. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do as much as I would like of either one.
4. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
This is not an easy question, as many books have influenced me over the years. However, since we recently celebrated what would have been the 100th birthday of the Portuguese author José Saramago, I would say Blindness, his 1995 novel. It is a very dark depiction of human nature, of how low we can go in survival situations. But at the same time, the novel sheds so much light on the collective goodness that can prevail. It is a book I strongly recommend reading in the current times we are living through.
5. If you could learn a language overnight, what would it be and why?
Arabic. I am deeply fascinated with the Arab world, its peoples, its cultures and its literature. It would be amazing to be able to communicate freely and directly with this broad cross-section of people, without things being lost in translation.