The European Union’s flags fly in the wind outside the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, on 11 March 2021. (Aris Oikonomou – AFP/Lehtikuva)


THE PARTICIPATION of Finland in the European Union’s massive recovery and resilience facility divides public opinion in Finland, reveals a survey commissioned by the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (Eva).

Eva on Sunday reported that 40 per cent of the public agreed and 38 per cent disagreed with the statement that participating in the 750-billion-euro facility is in the best interests of the country.

The Centre Party stood out from the five ruling parties in terms of the reservations of its supporters, with only 43 per cent viewing that the participation is beneficial. The sentiment was shared by at least two-thirds of other ruling-party supporters, including by 74 per cent of supporters of the Green League.

Support for the facility was much lower among the opposition parties, standing at three per cent among supporters of the Finns Party and six per cent among those of the Christian Democrats. Supporters of the National Coalition were torn over the issue, similarly to the party itself, with 40 per cent viewing participation is beneficial and 43 per cent not beneficial for Finland.

Public views on the facility appear to have remained unchanged since last autumn, except for the rising scepticism among supporters of the Centre.

Eva also asked the respondents to share their views on membership in the 27-country bloc in general, finding that support for the membership has crept up despite the political outrage surrounding the recovery facility.

Over a half (54%) of the respondents perceived the membership in a positive, 20 per cent in a negative and 25 per cent in a neutral light.

“Most Finns appreciate the EU but would rather it did not change,” summarised Ilkka Haavisto, the research director at Eva. “Eva’s follow-up surveys on values and attitudes indicate that citizens have consistently been wary of both the union’s fusion and the union’s diffusion and hoped mostly for continuity, stability and focus on the free movement of people, goods, capital and services that the EU membership brought within the reach of Finland and Finns.”

The majority of the public are also supportive of the euro, with 51 per cent of the respondents viewing that membership in the monetary union is beneficial for Finland. Over one-fifth (22%) of the respondents viewed that the euro is a burden for Finland.

If Finns were summoned to polling stations to vote on the EU membership today, 61 per cent would vote for and 25 per cent against the membership, according to Eva.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 2,059 people for the survey at the turn of March and April.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT