This is the place where I can make a difference

Written by: Jenna Leskinen & Emmi Smolander

The European Parliament plays an important role in every European’s life. It has been a key player in shaping Europe into a continent of possibilities and now it’s taking steps towards a more sustainable Europe. LUTES and the European Parliament are coming together and organizing an event focused on sustainable business. Come and inspire yourself about how you can scale up your career.


Sirpa Pietikäinen, has been involved in politics for a long time and agreed to have an interview for this article. In her own words, working as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is thinking and acting in a way that affects everyone. For her, politics is a passion. It’s her way of loving the world, and as a MEP, she gets to influence and focus on the things that matter to her. For her, these include the environment, environmental development, a sustainable economy and human rights.


The European Parliament works closely with the European Commission. The impact of the Commission’s programmes can also be seen in Finland, the largest of them being the Social Fund and Erasmus+. Both programmes’ topics support people’s well-being from different perspectives, with the aim to promote the support of personal development, sustainable growth as well as the development of innovation, and the strengthening of the European identity. 


In addition to the programs, the Next Generation EU fund, which is considered important for the future, has been developed with the aim of helping EU countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The investment is also seen as an opportunity to develop a greener, newer and more united European Union. More than 800 billion euros have been budgeted for the recovery fund, which will lead the Union towards five different goals named, Make It Green, Make It Digital, Make It Healthy, Make It Strong and Make It Equal. 


The aim is to achieve a greener future by cutting greenhouse gasses, encouraging ecological choices and increasing the use of renewable raw materials. According to Pietikäinen, it is important to take care of the environment so that people can be healthy. Environmentally friendly technologies aim to develop the digital European Union by, among other things, using artificial intelligence and bringing new inventions to Europe, such as the creation of a digital identity. The aim is to create more green and digital jobs by encouraging studies in the fields of science and technology.


Investing in research, new technologies and vocational training will make it possible to better prepare for possible future crises, which will lead to the well-being of Europe. In addition to this, it is considered important to pursue a more equal European Union by respecting each European citizen as its own individual. In Pietikäinen’s words, “Why do something if you don’t do it for everyone?”


Sirpa Pietikäinen emphasizes that an important starting point for achieving these goals is to ask the right questions, because if the question is wrong, the answer cannot be correct either. It is also worth remembering that goals are abstract until you take concrete action.

Combining budgets and envisioning a better future together can enable meaningful changes to be achieved. After all, we are gradually beginning to see how little time we really have to make big and meaningful decisions. The reality is that here on earth we have an unconscious amount of knowledge and know-how, but soon we won’t be able to use them for anything if we make our conditions on Earth unviable. 


Sirpa Pietikäinen’s greetings to the students:


During the studies, the most important lesson is to learn how to learn and take an analytical approach to things. It is important to spend time with different people, learn to think and rejoice. It’s worth taking it easy and not being too concerned about the pressure that others put on you; people are constantly trying to complete things faster than ever, although it is more important for you to graduate wiser, and not faster. We young people today have too serious of a grip on life and forget to stop and think about what we are really interested about. We should study what our greatest passion is, but not be discouraged if it does not hit the mark the first time. 


This passion drives us forward and should be possible to take us wherever it leads. We are all smart and competent people, but it is important to learn to recognize what you are really good at. You have to have the courage to say that this is not my thing and accept that you cannot be, and do not even have to be, everything. Tell yourself, I’m good at this and it’s just the way I am. In reality your strongest character represents you more than a degree does. That which can only be your thing, is your greatest advantage.


Are you interested in working in the European Parliament? As a student, you can work as a trainee for a MEP. Up to 50 trainees are taken in every year. The internship is recommended at the end of studies, when you are close to completion, so you can benefit the most out of it.


Come hear more about sustainable business at Scaling Up, LUTES speaker’s event on 22 March. Held in Parvi, 4th floor above the TEK lounge.