The Finns fear the future of the EU ­– but do not want to leave

Group 1: Anni Emilia Alentola & Joonas Heinonen

The average attitude among the largest EU states towards the Union has turned more negative rapidly. In Finland majority of citizens are still relying on the Union. But there are dark clouds on the horizon.

The positive views of the European Union are near or at the low point in most EU countries, say a research, where Finland was not included. The Pew Research about attitudes towards European Union says the favorability of the EU has fallen from a median of 60 percent in 2012 to 45 percent this year.

Positive signals last year

Survey made last summer by county newspaper Aamulehti showed that most of the Finnish people think there are more positive sides belonging to EU than negative ones. Especially Finns were then happy with climate politics and the consumer’s safety. In the refugee and immigrant issues Finns said there is more bad than good in EU.

In the survey made last year by Finnish economic commission 55 percent of the Finnish people said their attitude towards EU is positive. Surprisingly, the positive feeling about EU had risen almost 20 percentage point within a year.

According to the survey the amount of Finns who wanted Finland to leave EU was the lowest of all time during EU membership. 61 percent did not want to leave EU when 16 percent wanted to ­– and the rest were somewhere in-between.

But we do not want to pay that much

However, in the research almost half of all who answered tells that their attitudes have become more critical.

According to Finnish National youth research, one reason for Finns’ critical attitude towards EU is fear and ignorance of the costs of bailouts, especially among the youth.

– The Finnish youth is worried about where the money that Finland is lending is actually going, says the development manager Mikko Ampuja from company 15/30 Research, which arranged the survey.

Also the attitudes of parents reflect to the youth.
– If parents’ vision of the future is not that bright, it may effect straightly on their children too, Ampuja continues in the interview of Finnish newspaper Taloussanomat.

The payments from Finland to EU in general are one significant factor behind the negative attitude. This spring Finnish newspaper Iltalehti asked from thousand Finns what would be the first area of which to cut in the Finnish budget. 59 percent of the interviewees answered ‘the payments for the EU’.

The trust may not last

In the latest Eurobarometer last autumn, 66 percent of the Finnish said when thinking of the euro crisis and especially job markets, worse is still to come.

As a summary, it seems that the Finns trust more on EU perhaps than most of the other countries. But because of the euro crisis there is fear and hesitation in the air. The next year attitude might not be the same anymore.


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