PAM European election candidates: PAM members should vote in the EU elections
Six PAM members are standing for election to the European Parliament. The candidates - Yrjö Hakanen, Husu Hussein, Merja Kyllönen, Kaisa Penny, Tiina Sandberg and Jaana Ylitalo - think that the EU elections are important for getting things done.
PAM’s Collective Bargaining Director Jaana Ylitalo thinks that working life questions are currently not prioritised high enough in European policymaking. Ylitalo has long held management positions both at PAM and PAM’s international organisations.
“The EU decides on day-to-day issues affecting Finnish workers. Your everyday, your working conditions. I am standing for election to the European Parliament to give Finnish workers a voice in the EU. Working life questions affecting all of Europe should be taken seriously for a more responsible citizens’ Europe with more equal opportunities. European minimum standards protect workers from exploitation and wage dumping, and that’s why it’s so important for the European Union to have the negotiating skills to defend employees when these minimum standards are established,” says Ylitalo in summarising her candidacy and the importance of voting.
Merja Kyllönen, an MP and MEP from Suomussalmi, has been at the heart of European decision-making since 2014. Kyllönen was first elected to the Finnish parliament in 2007.
“If you want fair rules in your life, for example an end to employees being underpaid, active measures within tourism, security of supply, climate change or transport, the European Parliament elections are the best way to bring about change”, says Kyllönen, commenting on why she thinks PAM members should vote in the EU elections.
Husu Hussein from Helsinki works as a consultant in an exporting company and so he has seen European decision-making from that angle too. For Hussein, the most important themes in the EU elections are functioning immigration and fairness between people and globally.
“A lot of legislation comes from the EU and affects us, even if we don’t think about it. The reason I am standing for election is that the EU is now at a crossroads. Nationalist populism is on the rise and we now have to choose between nationalist confrontation or multicultural co-existence and international cooperation. Personally I represent the latter”, Hussein explains.
Kaisa Penny is from Tampere and is the Director of the Kalevi Sorsa Foundation. Penny lived for many years in the UK and has had a long career in various European organisations and politics. Penny thinks that in the future it is important that the EU protects the wellbeing of all Europeans, places limits on markets, prevents tax evasion and combats climate change.
“Much of the legislation on working life, occupational safety and equal opportunities in working life comes from the EU already. That’s why it’s essential for those of us who want to protect and not roll back workers’ rights to vote in the European elections. The EU has also been able to take many important decisions. For example, this spring the parliament adopted a working conditions directive, which limits the use of zero-hours contracts. Despite trying, this is something which we haven’t achieved in Finland. If we want more legislation like the working conditions directive, we need a strong European Union that is able to ensure the rights of its citizens,” Penny summarises.
Yrjö Hakanen, an official from Helsinki, brings up policies of peace and the option of breaking loose from the monetary union’s economic grip as his main themes in the European elections, as a means of improving salaries, public sector services and social benefits.
"In these elections, there is a need to object to the deteriorated politics that EU has pushed forward and the European elite’s undemocratic influence. I am standing as a candidate because I want to build another Europe, where people’s and the nature’s wellbeing is more important than the liberty of markets and business profits”, says Hakanen.
Secretary general Tiina Sandberg, who also lives in Helsinki, sees the elections as an important forum for making an impact, and for building a procedure, by the help of which, Finland too, can possibly part from both the Euro and the EU in the future.
"At the moment, there is a prevalent spending discipline and impoverishment politics in the EU, and it has hit workers and people that get their livelihood from social benefits, especially hard. We need a change of politics, as this direction is economically, socially and environmentally unmaintainable”, Sandberg summerizes her ideas on European future.
• The above information is based on a questionnaire sent to PAM candidates and we only publish the answers of the candidates who responded to the questionnaire, and their candidacy.
88 Husu Hussein
Bioanalyst, Member of the European Parliament, MAP,
168 Merja Kyllönen
Director of the Kalevi Sorsa Foundation,
95 Kaisa Penny
PAM Collective Bargaining Director, Chairman of the PAM Unemployment Fund,
102 Jaana Ylitalo
185 Yrjö Hakanen
198 Tiina Sandberg
• Elections to the European Parliament will be held on Sunday 26 May 2019.
• Advance polling in Finland 15-21 May and in other countries 15-18 May.