Three Things You Didn’t Know About the Speakers

CollageAfter yesterday’s panel discussion, The jEUrnal caught the speakers, Josef Weidenholzer, Angelika Mlinar and Michel Reimon, for a quick word of truth. 

Weidenholzer asked his wife for permission to go into politics.

When Josef Weidenholzer, MEP for the Socialists and Democrats, initially got the chance to become a politician, he had to consult his better half first:

“Immediately I asked my wife. I said: Just give me this chance”, he said.

As a young aspiring politician back in the days, when there was no such thing as an Model European Union, he spent years of engaging himself in political actions, demonstrations and sittings. He succeeded in becoming an MEP, because he waited around for the right moment, he says:

“If you want certain things, they will never happen, if you are just pushing for them. You have to be a little bit patient and to see the chances once they occur”, his advice goes.

Luckily for Weidenholzer his wife gave him the green light, once his opportunity finally arrived.

Mlinar leaves her feminine side back home.

Angelika Mlinar, MEP for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, somehow also managed to reach the top of European politics without any MEUs on her CV. Meanwhile, she studied to become a human rights lawyer in the United States and worked as a trainee for an Austrian member of the European Parliament.

Now, she says, stubbornness is the personality trait she uses the most in her own job as an MEP.

“I would say that I rather leave at home my more feminine side”, she said, referring to the more quiet side of herself, the side that is prepared to give in.

“The environment is very male, she explained: “But then again it also depends on the person, and there are colleagues who do it differently. It is just my personal style, which is maybe a little bit more belligerent (aggressive, red.), than the average”.

Reimon saw people clinging to aid-helicopter in Iraq.

Unfortunately Michel Reimon, MEP for the Greens, managed to escape the jEUrnalists after the debate. However, what Reimon didn’t mention during the refugee debate, is that he in fact has experienced the gravity of the situation first hand.

In 2014, when the refugee crisis was just at the beginning, Reimon went to Iraq to witness how the situation evolved. He shot a video of the aid team delivering water and food supplies. When they were handing out stocks, they managed to save around 30 people while many others tried clinging to the aid-helicopter while it flew away.

The helicopter he was on, had to fly out four times from the city of Erbil into the Sindschar mountains, to bring the people enough aid materials. Fleeing had the most impact on children, who were suffering from diarrhea, dehydration, infections and injuries.

Reimon told Kurier, an Austrian newspaper, that people needed “immediate help” and that he himself “could not survive living out there even for just a day”.

by Rikke Mathiassen and Iulia Matei

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