The Nato, Finnish and EU flags at the site of a meeting between Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato, in Helsinki, Finland, on 25 October 2021. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)


FIFTY-THREE PER CENT of Finns are currently in favour of and more than a quarter (28%) opposed to the idea of Finland joining Nato, reveals a survey commissioned by YLE. Almost one-fifth (19%) of the respondents were unable to disclose their view on the issue.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,382 people for the survey on 23–25 February.

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The Finnish public broadcasting company highlighted that the results represent a historic shift in public attitudes toward the military alliance, with the share of supporters surging by 34 per cent since the previous iteration of the survey in 2017. As recently as in January, fewer than one-third (30%) of the public voiced their support for joining the alliance in a survey carried out for MTV Uutiset by Taloustutkimus.

“The situation has literally turned on its head. The supporter and opponent numbers have practically been swapped,” Juha Rahkonen, the research director at Taloustutkimus, told YLE on Monday.

Breaking down the results by party affiliation reveals that support for the membership is the highest among backers of the National Coalition. What is noteworthy, though, is that supporters of the membership form the majority also among supporters of other political parties, with the sole exception of the Left Alliance.

“National Coalition voters have until now been alone in supporting Nato membership, but now Left Alliance voters are now the only ones opposing,” summarised Rahkonen.

Support for the membership, the survey found, would increase to 63 per cent in the event that the Finnish political leadership advocated joining and to 66 per cent in the event that Sweden applied to join Nato. The shares of people opposing the membership in said scenarios would drop to 23 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

A similar result was yielded by a survey commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat in February.

YLE also asked the respondents whether a referendum should be held about the membership. More than four in ten (41%) stated that they would support and almost a half (48%) that they would oppose putting the issue up to a referendum.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT