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Building Europe with Local Councillors
News article11 May 2024Directorate-General for Communication2 min read

Finnish BELC members host MEP candidates in an outstanding event in Seinäjoki

Ville Heikkilä (left) and Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen (middle) interviewing Eija-Riitta Korhola, MEP candidate
Photo by Sami Kilpeläinen

BELC members Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen from the city of Seinäjoki, and Ville Heikkilä from the municipality of Teuva organised an event on 11 May, 2024 on the European elections -with the support of the local EUROPE DIRECT centre. The programme, which was planned to attract people of all ages, included panel discussions and cultural performances at the central Seinäjoki marketplace square.

Political parties had their representatives available for talks, while the local EUROPE DIRECT colleagues informed people about the upcoming European elections and answered questions related to the EU.

The event was opened by Seinäjoki’s Mayor, Jaakko Kiiskilä and followed by the performance of the local youth choir concert.

The first panel discussion, titled ‘What the EU can do for the future of the Osthrobothnia region?’ was supported by the regional Ilkka-Pohjalainen newspaper and the Finnish–Swedish initiative to build a permanent connection across the Gulf of Bothnia. This is especially interesting as the first steps of this project have been EU-funded. The panel’s keynote speaker was Panu Laturi, a retired Green Party politician from the region. The panel was moderated by Markku Mantila, Editor-in-Chief at Ilkka-Pohjalainen newspaper and panelists included MEP candidates from a wide range of political parties: Eero Heinäluoma (SDP), Anna-Maja Henriksson (Swedish People’s Party), Jouni Jussinniemi (Left Alliance), Mika Lintilä (Center Party), Rosa Meriläinen (Green Party), Aki Ruotsala (Christian Democrats), Nina Nummela (Liike Nyt), Janne Sankelo (Kokoomus Party) and Veikko Vallin (Finns Party).

The second panel discussion was titled, ’Use your vote or others will decide for you – let’s make this an Osthrobothnian election!’ The panel was made up of Europe Direct representatives and local BELC members, Ville Heikkilä and Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen, who acted as keynote speakers. This panel was moderated by Tuomas Koivuniemi, Editor-in-Chief of the local Kauhajoki newspaper. The group of panelists was the same as the previous one, with the exception that Atte Harjanne (Green Party) replaced Rosa Meriläinen (Green Party).

The event was concluded with a discussion by youth groups on the theme of ‘What should the EU’s future look like?

In addition to the panelists, BELC members managed to invite several other MEP candidates to town and according to local media, there was an audience of several hundred people in the Seinäjoki marketplace.


Please see the media coverage on the event:äkin-kiinnostaa-koska-kuulumme-euhun 


Publication date
11 May 2024
Directorate-General for Communication
  • Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen (Seinäjoki) and Ville Heikkilä (Teuva)
  • Finland, Seinäjoki
  • Democracy and public participation