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HomeFinlandNewest NATO Member Finland Has 90% Approval Rating for Alliance

Newest NATO Member Finland Has 90% Approval Rating for Alliance

Nine in ten Finns are in favor of membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after the Nordic country joined the alliance in April, according to a government survey.

“A strong support for NATO membership unites Finns,” said Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen in a statement on Friday. “The world has become more dangerous, but at the same time Finland’s security framework is the strongest it has ever been in our history.”

Finland’s 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) border with Russia now makes up half of NATO’s eastern flank. Checkpoints on the demarcation have been mostly closed since November, when Russia began to assist asylum seekers toward Finland in what Helsinki views as a hybrid influence operation. 

Read More: Finland to Keep Russian Border Shut to Protect National Security

Finns only see a negative impact from Russia on their security — 0% said they had a positive view on their eastern neighbor’s influence, according to the survey commissioned by the Advisory Board for Defence Information. An overwhelming majority, 90% of respondents, believe Finland should maintain its support for Ukraine at least on the current level.

The survey, conducted for 60 years to gage Finnish attitudes to defense policy, also found that nine in ten think other NATO allies would support Finland if necessary and that Finland is obliged to assist other allies should push come to shove. The questions on NATO were asked for the first time.

Finns also continue to be avid supporters of defending their own nation, with eight in ten saying the country should respond with force to any attack, and as many willing to take up arms or otherwise contribute personally. The Nordic country has one of Europe’s strongest defense forces with 280,000 reserve troops configured to fight a major land campaign in need.

“The willingness to defend the nation, combined with our own strong defense, is the foundation for our security,” Hakkanen said.

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