The flag of the European Union flies in Helsinki, Finland. LEHTIKUVA

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A recent Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament's Finland Office reveals that a significant majority of Finnish citizens view Finland's membership in the European Union positively. According to the survey, 79% of Finns believe that being part of the EU is beneficial, aligning with the broader European sentiment where 72% of EU citizens feel their country has benefited from EU membership.

The survey, which reflects the opinions of EU citizens, indicates that 80% of Finnish respondents believe Finland has gained from EU membership. The respondents attribute this positive outlook to the EU's role in maintaining peace and enhancing security (42% of Finnish respondents) and promoting cooperation among member states (62% of Finnish respondents).

Overall, 45% of EU citizens have a positive image of the EU, 38% neutral, and 16% negative. These figures have remained consistent since March 2023. Among Finnish respondents, 55% view the EU positively, 33% neutrally, and 11% negatively.

Finnish Priorities: Defense, Democracy, and Climate Change

The survey reveals that 70% of all respondents and 64% of Finns believe the EU impacts their daily lives. When asked about priorities for the European Parliament, poverty reduction (36%) and public health (34%) were named as key issues by the general EU populace. Climate change action and economic support, including job creation, also ranked high on the importance list.

Finnish respondents, however, prioritize defense and security policy (44%), democracy and the rule of law (42%), and climate change actions (36%). Reducing poverty and combating terrorism and organized crime are also seen as important focus areas.

Economic Concerns Remain

Despite positive sentiments towards the EU, socioeconomic challenges persist. 73% of all respondents and 56% of Finns believe their standard of living will decline in the next year, showing a slight improvement compared to spring 2023. Financial difficulties, such as paying bills, continue to be a concern for many Europeans.

High Interest in Upcoming EU Elections

More than half of the respondents (57% of EU citizens and 59% of Finns) express interest in the upcoming EU elections set for June 6-9, 2024. The survey shows a steady interest level compared to spring 2023 and an increase from the autumn 2018 pre-election survey. A majority (68% of EU citizens and 71% of Finns) state they would vote if the EU elections were held next week.

European Parliament President Metsola's Remarks

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, comments on the survey results, highlighting the significance of the EU in addressing geopolitical and socioeconomic challenges. She emphasizes the EU's role in fighting poverty, exclusion, and climate change, creating jobs, and defending EU values like democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.

Metsola stresses the importance of voting in upholding democracy, reminding citizens that every vote in the upcoming EU elections matters. This Eurobarometer survey underscores the continued relevance and impact of the European Union in the lives of its citizens and the importance of democratic participation.

HT

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