Russia more feared but NATO less popular in Finland

STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Finland's President Sauli Niinisto (L) is welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) ahead of a meeting at alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 09 November 2016.

Russia more feared but NATO less popular in Finland


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An annual survey published on Thursday in Finland suggests there is more concern about Russia but no more appetite in joining NATO.

The study is carried out every year by the Advisory Board for Defence Information (ABDI) and engaged 1,000 people.

Support for NATO membership has dropped from 27-to-25% year on year, although the Finns view Russia as a threat is 50%. Only 28% of Finns saw Russia as a threat in 2010.

25% view Russia as both positive and negative, as it is an immense export market of tremendous economic significance.

Last November, the Finnish Defense Minister, Jussi Niinistö (PS) wrote and Op. Ed. advocating for the project of the European Defense Community. A vote for whether to proceed with the project of an EU-based collective security policy is expected later this month. Given that this vote will take place before President-elect Donald Trump comes to power, the momentum is with the Italian-German-French initiative.

Finland, along with Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, and Sweden, is an EU member state that is a partner but not a member of NATO.

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