Finns becoming more international, EVA values study finds

Doubt remain among Finns about international aid and taking in asylum seekers - but attitudes are shifting on immigration for demographic or economic reasons,

File picture of planet earth / Credit: iStock

People in Finland are becoming more open to the idea of globalisation, and the benefits of international trade and cooperation.

That’s according to a new values study by think tank EVA which finds 64% of Finns think internationalisation is an irreversible process in which Finland must be involved – while just 19% disagree.

“International cooperation is expected to intensify rather than fragment in the coming years.¬†Realism seems to best describe the globalization attitudes of Finns” says Ilkka Haavisto, EVA’s research manager.

The survey finds that more people than before, 33%, believe that globalisation leads to increased prosperity, with 26% disagreeing.

However views on globalisation, migration and development aid are strongly divided based on political position, with the new study finding Finns are particularly opposed to cross-border solidarity, that is, helping people living in developing countries or receiving refugees.

“I think it’s a long-standing stance of the Finns that for example compared with Sweden, I think the traditional mood among Finnish people, which is also reflected in the politics, is that Finns feel and want to feel somewhat isolated than the Swedes or the other Nordics” Haavisto tells¬†News Now Finland.

“The fact is that today Finns are more skeptical towards helping the developing countries than in 1986. And I was a little bit astonished myself, and my explanation was that maybe now the survey was conducted in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, and in the middle of social isolation and it may affect the way people answer that question” he adds.

There is however a more positive attitude now towards immigration for demographic or economic reasons, EVA finds. Some 40% of people think an ageing, declining population in Finland means it will be easier for foreigners to move here.

Supporters of the Greens have the most positive attitude towards internationalism as a whole, while the most negative attitude comes from supporters of the Finns Party. The views of Centre Party voters are closest to the average Finnish attitude.

EVA has been carrying out these social attitude surveys for more than 30 years.