Almost a half of Finns approve of close defence co-operation with Nato and the United States, finds an opinion poll commissioned by Iltalehti and Uusi Suomi.
Forty-six per cent of the poll respondents stated that they welcome close military co-operation with the West. Over a quarter (28%) of respondents contrastively said they oppose close military co-operation and another quarter (26%) that they have no opinion on the issue.
The poll was conducted between 14 and 26 February by Tietoykkönen.
The respondents were asked to answer the question: ‘Finland is engaged in deepening military co-operation with the West, namely Nato and the United States, to create a joint military deterrence against a possible threat from Russia. Do you think this is the right policy direction?’
The question sums up the prevalent defence policy of Finland. The Finnish Parliament voted last spring in favour of adopting an approach to defence and security policy that places an emphasis on deterrence.
Uusi Suomi draws particular attention to one curious aspect of the results: the distribution of responses from those who identified themselves as supporters of the Social Democratic Party. Over a half (52%) of supporters of the opposition party indicated that they support close military co-operation with Nato and the United States.
The notion of deepening defence co-operation was welcomed especially by supporters of the National Coalition but rejected by those of the Left Alliance.
The poll also found that fewer than one-fifth (17%) of the public are in favour of Finland joining Nato. Support for the membership is five percentage points lower when compared to the results of a survey conducted last autumn by the Advisory Board for Defence Information (ABDI).
Another noteworthy aspect of the results is that opposition to the membership has waned, while the share of those who are uncertain of their position on the issue has grown to 28 per cent.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi