“Start up Europe” – book review

Every responsible politician should be able to account for his or her activities during the exercise of a parliamentary mandate. Ms. Zofija Kukovič offers a comprehensive account of her activities during her mandate in the book “START UP EUROPE”.  The book is also of use to present and future MEPs, especially for those that wish to pursue work in the fields that Ms. Kukovič has specialised in.

During her mandate, Ms. Kukovič was eager to tackle five spheres of particular concern:

  1. health and well-being,
  2. science and entrepreneurship,
  3. environment,
  4. gender and youth issues, and, finally
  5. developing countries.

These spheres of interest reflect her vision of what she considers to be the key priorities in European politics and are related to her academic training and her the political experience that she has acquired over the years, for example as Minister of Health in Slovenia.

She was a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as well as the Delegation for relations with India and the Delegation for relations with South Africa.

Ms. Kukovič has a very consistent way of doing politics. She has a vision for Society and this leads her political work in all its dimensions. This fact is very much present in her book. She puts people in the centre of her concerns and she defends a simple, heathy life style that contributes to a better environment. She fights against inequalities (economic, geographical or gender).

Her Parliamentary work, described in Section 2.1, was a result of her vision and this is very well described in the book. For example in the field of Science and Innovation, Ms. Kukovič followed closely the issue of ‘East-West’ science divide in Europe. During my work as one of the rapporteurs of Horizon 2020, I had the opportunity to have a close contact with the activity of Ms. Kukovič.  She defended the position of EU 13 in the formulation of Horizon 2020, the role of women in Science and a high priority for the Societal Challenges on Health, Food Safety and Clean Environment.

In the Health field, she has followed very closely and passionately all the big dossiers such as Endocrine disrupters, Transparency of prices of medicinal products, Antimicrobial resistance, Clinical trials, Regulation of Medical Devices, Regulation on in vitro medical devices.

Ms. Kukovič also devoted considerable amount of effort and time to make Slovenia better known in the Brussels circles for example through the organisation of exhibitions and dedicated events. Section 2.3 describes her work in Slovenia. She remained very much in contact with the citizens and she optimised her time in order to visit primary schools, Hospitals and Farmer`s Market.

A very impressive activity is the project of Požen? Evropo. This is the subject of the second part of the book (Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6). This project consists on Food for Health and Jobs competition with the objective to promote home-produced food and the possibilities of self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Ms. Kukovič has represented the interests of Slovenia as well as the interest of Europe in the European Parliament with commitment, dedication and enthusiasm.  This comes out very clearly in the book and this fact makes the reading of the book a very pleasant exercise.

Maria Da Graca Carvalho
Brussels, nov 2016

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