UK Politics

Meet the European Parliament's youngest ever MEP

Kira Peter-Hansen Image copyright Kira Peter-Hansen

The new-look European Parliament includes the youngest person ever to sit as an MEP.

Kira Peter-Hansen, from Denmark, is just 21 and was still studying at university when she was elected.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night "even the interns are at least two years older than me".

The Green MEP also said it would be "hard" travelling by plane to her new place of work while still trying to protect the climate.

The previous record holder for youngest MEP was Germany's Ilka Schroeder, who was 21-and-a-half when she was elected in 1999.

Ms Peter-Hansen is slightly younger still.

'Just as good'

She told the BBC she was intimidated given her age, but was also "really excited for the job".

"I'm not sure if people will see me as just a little kid who has nothing to do here or if they will actually respect me from the other parties.

"I think it all comes with a lot of responsibility because I feel that I have to be representative of both the youth and young people engaged in politics to show them that young politicians are just as good as the older ones."

Ms Peter-Hansen said her number one aim in office was to push for more action on climate change.

"If you have the possibility to change things... you have to do it.

"Politics is really hard, you can only do small steps and await a bigger change," she continued, but said she hoped the upcoming budget in the European Parliament would invest more in the climate and research to cut emissions.

She said she believed the European Parliament was now more progressive than the Commission and Council in addressing climate change, and hoped the EU as a whole would fully commit to the Paris Climate Accord in legislation.

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Media captionYoungest MEP Kira Peter-Hansen wants more action on climate change

"Moving 3,000 people from Brussels to Strasburg every month is not climate friendly," she said, adding that she was "really thinking" about how to reduce her carbon footprint when travelling to the Parliamentary sessions.

She said she intended to go straight to Strasburg from Brussels by train instead of flying to and from Denmark between sittings.

Margrete Auken, also elected to the European Parliament for this session and a fellow Dane, is the Parliament's oldest member at 74.

Ms Peter-Hansen said she was acting as a mentor, "guiding me through the political and strategic discussions".

"I have to take up the space I'm entitled to. A lot of people voted for me and I need to do what I can to push forward for the subjects they find important."