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Poll: Reservist support for NATO membership clearly on the rise

An online poll of members of the Finnish Reservists’ Association comprised of conscripts who have finished their military service shows that some one-third of reservists would not be in favour of Finland joining NATO now, but would like to see the country retain its ability to join the alliance later.

Naton logo ja ihmisten varjoja.
Image: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / AFP

The poll indicates that the attitude of Finland’s reservists to NATO membership is now considerably more positive than a year ago. Over 40 percent of Finnish Reservists’ Association members would like Finland to become a member of NATO sometime soon or within the next few years. Support has increased by more than ten percentage points, compared with a similar poll from a year ago.

The NATO stance of 19 percent of respondents remained negative, falling four percentage points from last year. About 35 percent of reservists would not join NATO at present, but would like to retain the possibility to join later.

An increasing number of reservists are also in favour of Nordic defence solutions and cooperation. For example, more than a fifth of respondents felt that the Nordic countries should combine their defence forces, if possible. In contrast, less than one in five supports a fully independent defence policy.

Reservists were also asked how Finland should react to the events in Ukraine. More than one-third support Finland implementing measures as part of the EU, while 15 percent of reservists would increase the number of reservist refresher courses. Less than one in every ten would raise Finland’s military readiness, even though one in every five feels that the situation in Ukraine requires special measures from Finland.

The Finnish Reservists’ Association poll aimed to examine the effect of the events in Ukraine on the defence policy positions of its members. A total of 3,283 respondents participated in the online poll, which was arranged in early April.

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