Essayah Sari European Parliament
Master of Science degree in business administration, University of Vaasa (Finland) (1995)
Member of the Youth and Temperance Committee, Lapinlahti (Finland) (1988-1990); Part-time teacher, Northern Savo Higher Education College, Iisalmi (Finland) (1990, 1997); Town Councillor, Lapinlahti, and member of the Inspection and Culture Committee (1996-2000); Auditor, SVH PricewaterhouseCoopers Oy, Kuopio (Finland) (1997-2000); Business Controller, TeliaSonera Finland Oyj/Auria Oy/Turun Puhelin Oy, Turku (Finland) (2000-2007); Member of the Finnish Parliament (2003-2007 and 2009-); Chair of the Christian Democratic Group in the Finnish Parliament (2004-2007); Member of the Council on Ethics, Finnish National Lottery Veikkaus (2004-2008); Member of the Body of Delegates, Kaleva insurance company (2005-); Party Secretary, the Finnish Christian Democrats (2007-2009); Member of the Supervisory Board, Kemijoki Oy (Hydropower Company (2015-), Member of the Supervisory Board, Finnish State Railways (VR) (2008-2009); Councillor of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (2008-2012); Member of the Body of Delegates, Turku Cooperative Society (2008-2012); Town Councillor, Paimio (Finland) (2008-2012) and member of the Paimio Municipal Executive (2009); Councillor of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland (2009); Member of the European Parliament, EPP-group (2009-2014); Chairperson of the Finnish Christian Democratic Party (2015-)
World Championships, 10 km: 19th, Rome (Italy) (1987); 3rd Tokyo (Japan) (1991); 1st, Stuttgart (Germany) (1993); 4th, Gothenburg (Sweden), (1995); Universiade: 5,000m, 3rd, Duisburg (Germany) (1989); 10km, 1st, Sheffield (Great Britain) (1991); European Championships, 10 km: 5th, Split (Croatia) (1990), 1st, Helsinki (Finland) (1994); World Race Walking Cup, 10 km: 16th, San Jose (United States of America) (1991); 2nd, Monterrey (Mexico) (1993); 12th, Beijing (People’s Republic of China) (1995); Olympic Games, 10km: 4th, Barcelona (Spain) (1992); 16th, Atlanta (United States of America) (1996)
Board member, Finnish Athletics Association (1997-1999); Member, IAAF Race Walking Committee (1998-2015); Member, Economic and Marketing Committee and Race Walking Committee, Finnish Athletics Association (1998-2009); Member of the Ethics Committee, Finnish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (2004-); Chair, sports development aid NGO Liike (2007-2009); Board member, Athletics Support Foundation (2007-); Member of the Ethics Committee, Finnish Athletics Association (2014-)
Awards and distinctions
Finnish Sportswoman of the Year (1993 and 1994); Alumnus of the year 2004, University of Vaasa; Member of the Honorary Board, Helsinki World Championships Games (2005); Honorary Medal of the Finnish Sport Culture (2009)
Member of the following Commissions: Sustainability and Legacy (2016-), Digital and Technology (2017-), Olympic Solidarity (2017-)
Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas armed forces in June 2006 on Israeli soil, has been kept hostage for almost 4 years with continued disregard for his basic human rights.
Initiator of the European Parliament’s Resolution calling for his immediate release, Sari Essayah MEP expressed her content for the large majority reached in today’s vote:
”The situation of Gilad Shalit is a humanitarian issue and the Joint Resolution of the political Groups underlines the fact that since being taken hostage nearly 4 years ago, he is kept in an unknown place in Gaza where he does not enjoy basic rights according to any humanitarian standards, including the 3rd Geneva Convention”, she said.
”It is from this humanitarian perspective that we demand the immediate release of Gilad Shalit. Meanwhile the minimum requirement is that the Red Cross and Gilad’s parents may be allowed to be in contact with him”, Essayah demanded.
”Gilad Shalit should not be made a bargaining chip by the terrorist organisation Hamas but should be released immediately. This is the message that the EPP Group wishes the High Representative Lady Ashton to take with her to Gaza during her forthcoming visit”, she concluded. Members from all political Groups in the European Parliament, except for the GUE/NGL Group, have signed a letter sent to Lady Ashton requesting her to raise the case during her visit to Gaza scheduled for Wednesday 17 March.
Sari Essayah MEP had invited Gilad Shalit’s father Noam Shalit to visit the European Parliament this week to inform Members of the case. During his visit, Mr Shalit met with the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.
Terrorist organisation Hamas kidnapped 19-year old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 on Israeli soil. Since then he has been held in captivity, completely isolated, in an unknown location in Gaza.
Hamas has released a video tape of him as proof of him being alive. Negotiations on Gilad Shalit’s release have been conducted on several occasions. The latest request was to free 1000 Palestinians, among whom many have carried out terrorist attacks, from Israeli prisons.
Gilad Shalit is a European (French) and Israeli citizen. After the kidnapping, he was granted Italian nationality as well. Sari Essayah MEP participated in the European Parliament’s Delegation visit to Israel in February. During this visit, the EP Delegation met with Gilda Shalit’s father, Noam Shalit, who has now visited the European Parliament.