With my work, I want nothing less than to change the world. This tends to happen in small steps and requires great persistence. But it's important for me to always know where I'm headed. Without a clear goal, it is difficult to deal with the detours and stumbles that happen along the way.
If we are to make real improvements in people's lives, we have to make compromises, set priorities and make decisions whose consequences we can't always predict. But I think it is right to focus on making concrete changes happen (no matter how small) - rather than waiting for a world revolution.
Parliaments should reflect their societies. But the EU Parliament has a very uniform look – it is full of men in suits in their fifties and older. Of course it's quite legitimate to include such men – as a social group they are part of our society and should be represented in parliament. But other groups such as women, young people, immigrants and non-graduates are hugely under-represented. At least I can do something to improve the representation of young people and women. But it's not just that I am a youngish woman in Parliament. I am also trying to speak to young people and take their needs and opinions into account in my work. For example, this means tackling the euro crisis from the point of view of the generation that did not cause it, but that now has to deal with its consequences.
At heart, my politics is not just about looking after one's own interests. It has to involve paying attention to the needs of others. This is a vital element of migration, refugee and trade policies, whether it is about protecting people or ensuring that people in other parts of the world do not suffer as a result of our trade policies. Unfortunately there are many MPs who never think beyond their own constituencies, but I see myself as a European MP who also looks beyond Europe's borders. I am fighting for a just, fair Europe that protects refugees, allows people to enter and treats them fairly; a Europe that upholds human rights and social justice not only within its borders but also in its relations with other countries.
For me, Europe is an outstanding project that has the potential to dilute national borders – not only at the barriers themselves but also in people's minds. It is a project that can be molded and that depends on the people who want to be part of it. So for me it is essential to keep you well-informed about my work and about what is happening in the EU to encourage people to get involved. Europe will only be what we want it to be if we all join in and play our part. The real problems of our time cannot be resolved at local or national level. We can and must come together to actively build our future.