HELSINKI, November 5 — RIA Novosti. Most Finns (59%) are against membership of their country in NATO, has been commissioned by the newspaper “Helsingin Sanomat” the polling company Gallup, which on Sunday published in the electronic version of the publication.
On Monday in Helsinki will host a meeting of defense Ministers of the countries of Northern Europe, which also invited the defence Ministers of the Baltic States, the Netherlands, the UK, Poland and Germany. On the same day will begin the official visit of U.S. Secretary of defense James Mattis in Finland.
“Fifty-nine percent of Finns oppose membership in NATO, 22% support the accession, 19% are undecided”, — stated in the message.
According to the study, opponents of NATO membership are different groups of the population regardless of age, gender, residence, employment or education. The exceptions are the supporters of the Coalition party, 45% of which support the country’s accession to NATO, while 43% hold the opposite point of view.
It remains an open question of the behavior of the Finns in the event of the entry of Sweden into NATO. The policy in defence of these two countries tend to be interconnected and one of them has a significant impact on the other, the newspaper writes. In case of accession of Sweden to NATO the number of supporters of a similar move in Finland will increase to 33%, but again, more than half of Finns are against it.
The number of supporters of joining NATO increased in late summer 2014, when the newspaper also ran a similar study. Then, amid the deteriorating situation in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea to Russia, 26% of Finns were in favour of the country’s membership in Western military Alliance. Prior to this, the support for NATO was at the level of 16-19%, the newspaper said.
“The main factor of influence is the Russian operation in neighbouring regions, which increases the number of supporters of NATO, while the us operations cause the opposite effect. Russia’s foreign policy is aggressive, but she is not the determining factor in shaping the opinions of the Finns on NATO,” — said the researcher of the Institute of international politics Finland Matti Pecan (Matti Pesun), quoted by the newspaper.