Inside the European Parliament...

"In the café of life, it is always good to sit next to foreigners." Ari Vatanen has a reputation of being a hall-way diplomat at the European Parliament. He keeps up connections with members of the parliament from different countries. He shuttles, creates relations and is often busy lobbying for different issues, such as for the election of Jacob Söderman or the ever important changing of the exception regulation for Finland with the railroad directive. At the moment, the membership in France's UMP party has made possible the creation of an even more thorough network. The Members of the European Parliament gather together for plenary sessions principally once a month for one week at a time. The rest of the time is spent doing preparatory work within the respective political parties, resolution preparatory committees, which are responsible for the parliament's relations to the third world. Unofficial issue-based networks are also present at the parliament.

Foreign Affairs Committee

Ari Vatanen is a full member in the Foreign Affairs Committee. This committee does not pass legislation, however provides Ari with opportunities for diplomacy. Numerous guests of the committee often include head and foreign ministers around the world. Making connections with them provides for an opportunity - even for at least a little bit - to influence for peace and a brighter future.

The Foreign Affairs Committee, is also the committee in charge of presenting the EU's views of its enlargement. In order for every new nation to be accepted, the parliament has to give its approval. Ari is warmly for the expansion of the union. The whole world does not fit into the union, but as an extension of our democratic arm to the Muslim countries, it would be essential for Turkey to join this "club".

The AFET committee can also make new openings as it did with Ari Vatanen's own-initiative report on EU-NATO relations: the role of NATO in the security architecture of the EU, which was adopted by the European Parliament in its Plenary Session on 19th February 2009.

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Ari Vatanen is a substitute member in the committee on Transport and Tourism. This provides Ari with the capabilities of following the work, speaking during meetings and making amendment proposals to legislative initiatives. In addition, reports can be assigned to him, such as was the case in the beginning of the term with the report on traffic safety.

His report on the European Road Safety Action Programme: Halving the number of road accident victims in the European Union by 2010: A shared responsibility was adopted by the European Parliament at its Plenary Session on 14th June 2005.

Another main topic with Ari's work in the committees on top of traffic safety is the issue of enhancing the use of automobiles. Within the EU, there seems to be the sentiment that the use of cars and highway transportation are an evil demon. This view needs to be abandoned. Still, no other form of transportation offers as much flexibility as does that of the rubber wheel transportation. That is proved even by the statistics which show an overwhelming dominance by highway transportation!


Ari Vatanen is a substitute member both in the USA - Delegation and the Russia - Delegation. Among the tasks of the delegations are maintaining relations with the countries in question as well as following the political situation in them.