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Poll shows support for military union with Sweden

More than half of Finns would support a military alliance with Sweden, according to a new opinion poll. Support was strongest among those over 50 and under 25-years-of-age.

Paraatijoukot marssivat Joensuussa kesäkuussa 2011.
Finland's proud military traditions are compatible with a Nordic alliance, according to respondents to an Yle poll. Image: Puolustusvoimat

Finns are ready to align militarily with their western neighbour, Sweden. That’s the message from a new poll carried out for Yle by Taloustutkimus.

The survey asked whether people would support a union under which the armed forces of one country would be called on to support the other in a crisis situation. Some 54 percent said they would support such a union, 36 percent opposed it and 10 percent said they did not know.

Support for a military alliance with Sweden crossed party boundaries, with only supporters of the Christian Democrats opposing the move. Green voters were the most positive about the mooted defence pact.

Taloustutkimus interviewed 1,000 people between 17-20 March. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.

Defence Minister Carl Haglund told Yle that he found the survey results interesting. The minister says that Finland is already developing co-operation with armed forces across the Gulf of Bothnia, but that the work is not currently aimed at any kind of military alliance.

Military alliances "shouldn't be ruled out"

“It creates the conditions, if we know each other better,” said Haglund, who says he will announce further details of the defence planning in the spring. “If one day we decide to start deeper, political co-operation, then the conditions are a lot better.”

At present Finland is hoping to jointly negotiate defence procurement to try and push prices down. If both countries own the same types of equipment that increases the possibilities of defence co-operation, but Haglund said now was not yet the time for that.

“Military alliances should not be ruled out, but that is not the issue at hand,” said Haglund.

Recent events in Ukraine have intensified a long-running debate in Finland over security policy and the possibility of joining Nato. Finland’s traditionally non-aligned stance has ensured it is not required to help any other countries militarily.

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  • Viesti poistettu ylläpidon toimesta.

    Viesti poistettu ylläpidon toimesta.

    • bellhead

      Report as inappropriate

      What incident are you talking about raping an underage girl? The one in Japan in which the US Sailors raped the woman, they were sentenced to jail..

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/01/us-navy-sailors-okinawa-rape/1955873/...

      Nato while not a perfect organization has a long track record of keeping the peace in Europe and helping out internationally.

    • Daffy Duck

      Report as inappropriate

      You are so daft. Get out of your basement.

    • What?

      Report as inappropriate

      You have a pretty bigoted view of the US in NATO. Soldiers in all armies commit crimes and the ones in the US have to go through the military court and penal system, which is much tougher than its civilian counterparts.

    • we also know who they are

      Report as inappropriate

      We also know" who they are"."Those"who are pro Putin and would rather Finland join back with the "Russian empire" than remain a democratic,independent,western country...

    • no "boogey-men"?

      Report as inappropriate

      You say "lets not Create buggy men",but on Practice that's exactly what you do by accusing all US military personnel if being child rapists.Estonia is a member of NATO and how many Estonian little girls have been raped so far by the US military?"Finland has no enemies,lets be neutral".That was exactly the same comments going on before Stalin decided to start Bombing Finland,take away karjala and Petsamo,all because Finland's borders were too close to Saint Petersburg and represented a "threat" to Russia(any similarities with Crimea are not just coincidences...).We better plan well what to do cause this time Hitler is not going to step in during the last minute to help Finland get their territory back...

  • 4rctic9Ic3m4n

    Report as inappropriate

    This actually makes sense. would have been better if Norway, Denmark, and Iceland could be part of the alliance. But since that is not possible, this here is IMO the next best thing

    • FInnobserver

      Report as inappropriate

      Why on earth YLE wanted to ask anybody in Finland whether they wanted to join Sweden in a military alliance is anybody guess. The Swedes probably haven't even thought about it and the idea that two small nations should bother about allying their armies in the face of Russian opposition is ridiculous. Of course it is technically excellent that we are told the confidence level of the survey but here is a proposition YLE might have absolute confidence and which its journalists should get on and talk about : FINLAND IS IN CERTAIN DANGER AND NEEDS PROPER ALLIES LIKE NATO

  • what use will it do?

    Report as inappropriate

    Finland seems that Finally realize that they cannot prevent an invasion alone,but is a "possible" defense union with Sweden going to save Finland?Not really, lets recapture last Yle debate where the Nordic defense ministers were present.The Swedish minister of defense mentioned then that they would be able to resist an invasion for one week maximum.And that's a country which has double the population and GDP than Finland's,so maybe together they can hold a one and a half weeks stand...still wars can last months or years...the second issue is that again when proposed with this alliance with Finland possibility the Swedish minister said that military alliances (of all kinds) were against what Sweden stands for and Finnish and Swedish military equipment were quite different in practice and nature(Sweden uses professional soldiers while Finland relies in universal conscription).True protection can only be achieved through NATO or making nuclear bombs,the choice now is Finland's

  • easy solution

    Report as inappropriate

    I've a simple but controversial solution. It will get a lot of wrath from many but if we think logically and practically it's a real solution for foreseeable future. We can reduce the size of our army to minimum only to guard borders for smugglers etc and forget about any attack from any army. This decision will not please the big arm declares who sell us weapons for billions of dollars every now and then so expect fierce resistance in implementing this solution. But look at history and no country has ever dared to start an open war with any of those countries which have implemented this solution. Get/make a couple of atomic bombs and missiles capable of carrying those bombs to 1/2 thousand kilometres and stop worrying about your defence.

  • Easy Solution

    Report as inappropriate

    I've a simple but radical/controversial solution. It will get a lot of wrath from many but if we think logically and practically it's a real solution for foreseeable future. We can reduce the size of our army to minimum only to guard borders for smugglers etc and forget about any attack from any army. This decision will not please the big arm declares who sell us weapons for billions of dollars every now and then so expect fierce resistance in implementing this solution. But look at history and no country has ever dared to start an open war with any of those countries which have implemented this solution. Get/make a couple of atomic bombs and missiles capable of carrying those bombs to 1/2 thousand kilometres and stop worrying about your defence.

    • exactly

      Report as inappropriate

      No one respects neutrality anymore,Sweden only scaped the worse of war cause it has always used Finland as a buffer zone and Switzerland?well the nazis needed a "bank" state with secrecy where they could stock up all the things they stole from the Jews without fearing that the allies could search such accounts.Austria didn't have either advantage and was one of the first ones to get invaded. Israel is a tiny country,smaller than most Finnish states,still no one dares to attack them cause they know the nukes they have can do serious damage even to a large country,they could wipe out the capital of whomever would try to invade them for instance...

    • please don't erase messages...

      Report as inappropriate

      I think some messages shouldn't be erased even if reported as inappropriate.For example,someone made a message calling NATO soldiers child rapists.This sounds awful and harsh,but many others answered to this message with good arguments saying"wait a minute,its not like that,they didn't go unpunished."This is a good debate,but because the original message criticizing NATO was erased,now all answers seem a bit weird and out of context.So I suggest that not all messages which may seem a bit too critical and baseless should be erased just because someone felt offended.Some people will always feel offended no matter how hard one tries not to offend them,its like attempting "walking on top off eggs"...

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