"European with my soul in Helsinki"
Since my youth I have always been interested in politics. When I was 14 I attended the Swedish Youth Organization’s congress. In the rebellious 1960s and ”as an angry young man” I was one of the organisators behind the occupation of the Old Student House in 1968. Insight comes with age. So also for me. After my years in the USA I went back to SFP and my social-liberal values.
My grandfather and my father were journalists. This was also my occupation for many years, in Moscow and Washington. I returned to the politics when I retired from YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) in 2008.
I have written several books about Russia, world politics, finance and taxation. Since 2012 I am member of the European Parliament for SFP and is active in the liberal group, Renew Europe.
On my sparetime I enjoy an active life such as skiing and long walks in the wilderness of Lapland. I have five children; Linus, Sara, Leo, Kristoffer and Alexander. I have also been blessed with six grandchildren.
A pioneer in climate and the environment
One of the biggest challenges is for Helsinki to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. In order to succeed we need courage, innovative thinking and future plans for transports, communication and logistics. We need good local transportation and fuel alternatives. We need a pro-active city planning as the city landscape is about to change and city planning has not been in focus for the democracy. This aspect has to be taken into consideration when planning the South Harbour. It is a national landscape that cannot be wasted. How we plan and preserve our surroundings, our parks, our forests is extremely important. We need successful energy solutions for Helsinki’s housing stock. Geothermal heat is one possibility among many others. This will cost enormously in the beginning, but will be worthwile in the long run.
We are facing huge challenges during the coming years. Whether we talk about housing, traffic, construction or energy issues, but this also concerns the well-being of youngsters, adults and seniors. The corona-year has been an ordeal for all of us, but in different ways. Entrepreneurs have faced declining customer bases, the health care staff has had an unimaginable work load, individuals have felt forgotten, ignored or invisible. Functions that previously have given some meaning in life, whether we talk about school, leisure activities or gatherings, have been sparse. It is time to create together conditions and scopes for those to find their way back to every day social life and erase the exclusion factor for so many.
Housing and construction
Healthy buildings give better health for their users. We need more construction in domestic wood, as regards housing as well as other buildings including the city’s own buildings. Constructing in wood ties carbon and contributes to a more sustainable development of the buildings in Helsinki.