1. How would you describe your political/leadership style in three words?
Commitment, cooperation, enthusiasm. I always regarded the people I worked with in the European Parliament as well as back home in politics as a real team, an alliance of like-minded people, fighting together for the same values and goals. I believe that the best motivation is to be respected in part for contributing to a good cause and to participate on an equal footing in joint efforts for a better world.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
To mention something extreme: hanging on a rope from a bridge in Budapest to demonstrate against a Russian nuclear power plant project in Hungary – but those who really know me may not be so surprised by that. On the creative side: in my twenties I wrote short stories that were published in literary magazines and I was considering becoming a writer. Or a photographer. Or a painter. I have not practiced any of these activities for a long time, unfortunately.
3. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
In a positive sense to meet Tenzin Gyaco, the Dalai Lama. He definitely makes you much more humble – and in this age of overconsumption and emerging political hate that’s exactly what the world needs.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
Being around nature: trekking, biking, canoeing or something similar, that’s what really relaxes me. Everyone should do this much more often to understand that we are not masters here, but simple guests on a wonderful Planet, and we are fully dependent on a fascinating global ecosystem which we are about to destroy.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
Many, many books. But let’s mention the Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis’ book ’Report to Greco’, which is a kind of reflective autobiography. I read this at the age of 18, and I learned for ever from this book to always question things, including my own views, not to accept anything just because it is done or because I believe in it, to be able to broaden my horizon, improve my understanding and to keep learning till the end. I learned to stay curious and open-minded to new ideas and to stay committed to my cause but at the same time remain sensitive and respectful towards those who represent different ideas.