What is the most rewarding part of your job as a politician?
It is incredibly rewarding to be a politician – whether as a minister of a national government or as a Member of the European Parliament. Being able to move forward renewable energy, such as solar and offshore wind energy, is quite fulfilling. At the European Parliament, you feel like one of the main actors in drafting key legislation for 500 million European citizens. With one piece of EU legislation my colleagues and I basically created a volume market that was so big that we have been able to reduce the costs of renewable energy. Europe paved the way for very cheap production of solar energy, the principle of which can now be invested in African villages. European policies allowed mass volume investments into offshore wind generation, which significantly cut down the costs. We were involved in the ‘dieselgate’ and contributed to the first steps of ending the reliance on fossil fuels in car industry and moving towards climate-friendly practices. Nowadays, across the EU, any new building has to be zero energy and this goes back to an amendment we made back in 2010. All of this significant legislation was my job and, as much as it was challenging, it was a massive reward to see the legislation being passed and policies adopted.
“In politics, you can put forward what you think is right but then, inevitably, you have to deal with all the different points of view and conflicting interests.”
I do not underplay the difficult aspects of the job. In politics, you can put forward what you think is right but then, inevitably, you have to deal with all the different points of view and conflicting interests. The challenge is to design a political strategy that will ensure the best possible outcome for the majority of people. You have to compromise somewhere.
“The challenge is to design a political strategy that will ensure the best possible outcome for the majority of people.”
Today, I am very fortunate to be able to implement on the national level the EU legislature that I helped to frame. As a minister, I can now play an active role in shaping the energy revolution that we need to implement as quickly as possible to achieve our climate targets. I am pleased to see that more and more people are taking this path together and that we are thus able to work towards not only greater climate protection but also democratisation of the energy sector.