80 years old | “It is difficult to be a nature conservationist in the Coalition Party” – Pertti Salolainen’s position has not been easy

Salolainen was always a favorite son of voters, and in his own party it aroused great envy.

Spring The 1970 parliamentary election comet was a coalition Pertti Salolainen. The first-timer grabbed 19,641 votes from Helsinki and entered the beginning of a long political career. It lasted for as much as half a century, it was not until last year’s election that he was left out.

How do you feel looking back, Pertti Salolainen?

“With satisfaction, as a happy person. I’ve got to make history and it has been my life fulfillment, “the politician responsible – at all poliitikkomaisesti veivailematta.

The moment of making history was that Salolainen worked Esko Ahon as the government’s chief negotiator on EU membership in the early 1990s. The task inherent in the Minister for Foreign Trade employed him full-time for several years. He also signed a membership agreement.

“On the basis of the EU process, an EEA agreement on the European Economic Area had already been negotiated and concluded,” the Minister explains. “The EEA was an interim step that paved the way for the EU.”

Does Finland finally belong to the right gang when in the EU – or should we apply to NATO?

“This base station is valid. After all, Finland is more of a NATO country than many NATO countries. The reality must be a readiness to take and give help, and our own armed forces must maintain a sufficient deterrent effect. ”

“If it is wrong to talk about any NATO option, then Russia knows that Finland will resort to the West if an armed conflict breaks out,” Salolainen explains.

Salolainen values ​​the European Union as the most important project for peace and stability on our continent. That is also why he – a City citizen who has lived in London for 12 years – has watched in dismay the British march out of the EU.

“I’m extremely angry about, brexit is a dangerous nationalist phenomenon,” he exclaims. “In the long run, even the British have lost hundreds of thousands of people in wars for nationalist reasons.”

Politics Salolainen has not gone on a journey of joy alone. The high election popularity gave him more secure footing, but it also caused annoyance in the inner ring of the Coalition. “There was a gigantic envy of me in the Coalition Party,” he says in unison.

He garnered a massive 26,562 votes in the 1979 election, and was strongly persuaded by the field crew to lead the Coalition’s leadership race.

In 1983, he agreed to take up the presidency Ilkka Suominen counter-candidate, and lost the election. Challenging sedentary leadership has not been seen by the Coalition Party as exclusively good.

When Salolainen then became party leader in 1991, his term was shortened to three years. There were several reasons for his resignation, and the 1983 sinner weighed in on the scales. He was replaced Sauli Niinistö.

As a young man, Salolainen had thrown himself into politics, especially because of the radical group of demars.

“I took it upon myself to fight the left-wing hegemony that was raging among the youth at the time. At least I wasn’t opportunistically associated with the mainstream. ”

Salolainen raises the natural perspective as his permeable principle. In a party that favors large-scale industry and an efficient economy, it has not been an enviable position. “It’s hard to hell to be a conservationist in the Coalition,” he admits.

“And it’s not easier in a stick or a demarche.”

The latest world reports on the destruction of forests and animal species are shocking. And Finland is by no means detached from the direction.

“Think, only three percent of the old forests of Southern Finland are protected!”

Pertti Salolainen

Born in 1940 in Helsinki.

Student 1960, Helsinki II Lyceum. Master of Business Administration 1969, Helsinki School of Economics.

Broadcasting journalist 1962-66 and London correspondent 1966-69. Editor of the BBC’s Finnish section 1966.

Member of Parliament 1970-96 and 2007-19.

Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1987–1991, Minister for Foreign Trade and Deputy Prime Minister 1991–95. Finland’s chief EU negotiator.

Finland’s Ambassador to London 1996–2004.

Coalition Chairman 1991-94

WWF Finland founder 1972, chairman. 2006-09

Grand Cross of the Finnish Lion. Free citizen of the City of London, 1998.

50-meter freestyle bronze at the Finnish Championships, 1958.

Lives in Helsinki, widow, two children, four grandchildren.

Turns 80 on Monday 19.10. Celebrating in close circle.

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