Later in the day, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is expected to embark on a trip to bolster relationships with NATO and partner nation alliances.
HELSINKI (Sputnik) — About 59% percent of the Finnish citizens are against entering NATO, a poll conducted by the Kantar TNS pollster for the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper showed on Sunday.
According to the survey’s results, only 22 percent support the idea of NATO-membership and 19% are hesitating.
In case Sweden joins North-Atlantic Treaty, only 33% of ordinary Finnish citizens will support the move due to the close interconnection of the defense policies between the neighboring countries, the poll showed. However, 52 percent of respondents are still against the idea.
The poll was carried among 1,005 respondents on October 16-27. The newspaper stressed that the opposition to NATO membership was clear among all groups of populations, despite sex, age, political views, employment status of the respondents. The only exception was the National Coalition political party’s followers, with 45 percent supporting joining the Alliance and 43 percent stating against it. However, the majority of supporters of all other political parties showed strong opposition to Finland joining NATO.
Meanwhile, before 2014, the number of those who favor the move was about 16-19%, the daily added. Since 2014, when the conflict in Ukraine erupted and the Crimean peninsula reunified with Russia, the number of supporters of gaining NATO membership among the Finnish population reached 26 percent.