In conversation with Kira Marie Peter-Hansen, Member of the European Parliament

365 Sherpas: Do you perceive Europe as your homeland in a similar way you would perceive your hometown or home county as your homeland?

Kira Marie Peter-Hansen: I think Europe can be a homeland, but I am not sure it can be a homeland in the same way as a home country or hometown.  When I come home from the Parliament to my new apartment in Brussels, I feel like it is actually my home. But today I am going home to Denmark and I guess that’s a different kind of home. I also use the “homes” differently. When I am here, I work a lot, and in Denmark, I get to spend time with my friends.

365 Sherpas: Do you feel that the younger generation is more European?

Peter-Hansen: Definitely, I think there is a difference between the generations born before the fall of the Berlin Wall and after. I think the generation born after 1989 is simply more globalised and sees the EU as a cooperation that has always been there and that makes sense. That’s also why a lot of young people are more pro-European.

365 Sherpas: What would you imagine the EU to look like in 20 years from now?

Peter-Hansen: I hope that in 20 years Europe will be free from fossil fuels and be driven by only sustainable energy, so that we will manage to progress in the climate justice progress. I also hope that we will have a Europe where the rise of nationalism and right-wing populism is gone. I would like to see an EU where we know that we have differences in culture and ways of living but it is not something that defines our relationship, so that we can have even more cooperation. Being from Denmark, from one of the most privileged young generations, I also hope that we will see a stop to the rise in inequality. So that we could all have more or less the same opportunities even if we were born in different countries.

»I think the generation born after 1989 is simply more globalised and sees the EU as a cooperation that has always been there and that makes sense.«

365 Sherpas: How can you con­tribute to this positive vision?

Peter-Hansen: I can do it through hardcore legislation. For example, by advocating for a higher percentage of green investments in the budget we are drafting now.

365 Sherpas: There is a lot of talk about the Green Wave in Brussels. Do you feel that Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to make it a key priority in her Commission is a move in the right direction?

Peter-Hansen: It depends on whether or not she can and will deliver. I think that the Green party didn’t really like Ursula von der Leyen, but she could deliver on many things. I am convinced we will see a bigger emphasis on climate this time than we did under Juncker. That being said, I was disappointed by the choice of Janusz Wojciechowski as Agricultural Commissioner from Poland, he is probably not as Green as he should be.

365 Sherpas: Since now you are spending a lot of time in Brussels and Strasbourg, is there something that you miss from your home country/your home constituency?

Peter-Hansen: There are two things and I am afraid it is going to sound a bit arrogant and elitist: from Copenhagen, I miss the clean drinking water without the chlorine, and I miss having a lot of cosy cafés where you can get oat milk lattés.

At 21, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen is the youngest member of the European Parliament. Peter-Hansen is a Danish politician of the Socialist People’s Party (part of the European Greens). She sees the promotion of environmentally friendly policies as the main priority in her political work.