The attitude of the Finnish population towards Finland's membership of the European Union (EU) is more positive than ever, according to a survey conducted by the think-tank EVA and published today 9 May, on the occasion of the celebration of Europe's Day.
This study aims to measure the attitude of Finns towards the EU. And this year's results show that 56% of the people consulted have "a positive view" of the EU membership. On the contrary, there are 13% who perceive it as something negative. Neutral attitude towards membership is 29%.
EVA has measured attitudes towards EU membership on a regular basis since 1988. And according to its most recent conclusions, the attitude is now more positive than ever, while rejection is at the lowest level.
Attitudes of Finns towards EU membership: pink means positive, grey neutral and blue negative. Source: EVA.
Men more supportive than women
The survey also shows that EU membership has more supporters among men than among women. And the younger people (18-25 years old) are those with a more positive attitude. Support is also very high among those over 65 years.
The appreciation towards EU membership has risen, among other reasons, because it is perceived to strengthen Finland's position and influence in a world that has become more uncertain. Also, it is considered to bring economic benefits to Finland (common monetary policy, internal market and free movement are specially regarded as beneficial).
Only 14% want to leave
The survey also shows that desire of Finns to leave the European Union is also at its lowest level since the country's entry in this club in 1995. Thus, only 14% of the people consulted expressed their wish to follow the steps of the United Kingdom and leave the Union.
"Finland should leave the EU". In dark and light pink, the percentage of people who support this idea. Source: EVA.
More support from SDP, Center and Left Alliance
EVA says that support towards EU membership has increased specially among the voters of the Social Democratic party (SDP), the Center (Keskusta) and Left Alliance (Vasemmistoliitto).
Supporters of the far-right party True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) are the only group "clearly opposed" to EU membership, while the Christian Democrat (KD) voters are the second most critical group.
Despite the fact that the far right party of the True Finns has positioned itself as the second political force in the last parliamentary elections, the numbers still show that the percentage of citizens who wish to leave the EU remains low.
Changes in the recent years
However, those attitudes have also been changing in the recent years: "In the early part of the millennium, EU membership did not particularly inspire voters of the Center or the Left Alliance" and "EU support for SDP voters was also lower", say the authors of the survey.
EVA is a business think-tank that aims to promote the long-term success of Finnish society. For that reason, it provides information and views on current public debate proposes reforms to policy makers.
This survey's results are based on the answers provided by over 2,000 people. Data collection was made in January and February this year among the entire population aged 18-70.