3 December 1999                                 

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Military non-alignment backed by majority

A clear majority of Finns still support military non-alignment. According to a new survey, reported by Helsingin Sanomat (3 December 1999), 68 per cent of people questioned opposed military alignment. Only one in five Finns wants the country to join a military alliance.

Joining a military alliance was more popular among men than women. Younger people also seem to have a more favourable attitude towards giving up non-alignment. Of people under 24 years, 29 per cent support joining a military alliance whereas among citizens over 50 the support for non-aligment was 74 per cent.

During the Kosovo crisis the support for military non-alignment was even higher, 74 per cent. This reflected unwillingness to get involved in similar conflicts. The new survey, however, seems to reveal a greater readiness to participate in crisis management. This reflects perhaps Finland’s long tradition of participation in peace keeping operations.

Of those who support military alignment, 49 per cent would choose NATO. Every sixth citizen would like to see military alignment with the country’s similarly non-aligned neighbour, Sweden. Support for military co-operation with Russia has dropped from two per cent to one per cent.

In earlier surveys most people have expressed the belief that Finland will eventually join NATO. Now only a half of Finns seems to believe this to be the case.

According to the latest survey, a clear majority believes in armed resistance against foreign aggression, even if the outcome seemed uncertain. 

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