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Survey: Nato application improves Finland's international image

Around 4,000 "internationally active" people around the world took part in the foreign ministry-commissioned survey.

When explaining what had improved their perceptions about Finland, 20 percent said the Finnish people, 14 percent said the Nato application process and 10 percent cited the country's government and foreign policy. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

Nearly half of respondents to an international survey said their perception of Finland has improved over the past year, according to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which commissioned the poll.

The ministry said the survey found that Finland's efforts to become a member of Nato has helped to improve those perceptions.

The survey queried around 4,000 people from 10 countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, the UK, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Korea, China and Russia.

"As many as 72 percent of the respondents recalled having heard news about Finland during the past year. Finland’s Nato process was mentioned by 49 percent as the news event they remember about Finland," a ministry statement said.

Finland and its Nordic neighbour Sweden both started the process of applying to the military alliance not long after Russia's deadly invasion of Ukraine began.

To date, 28 out of Nato's 30 member states have already ratified Finland's and Sweden's application to join the alliance. Ratifications by the two remaining countries, Hungary and Turkey, are expected within the next few months.

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With the exception of responses from Russia, nearly half (48%) of the respondents said their perception of Finland had improved. Meanwhile, 17 percent of Russian respondents said their perceptions had improved, while 28 percent said they had worsened.

Perceptions changed the most among respondents in India (82%), Brazil (63%), Turkey (54%) and the US (52%), according to the survey.

When explaining what had improved their perceptions about Finland, 20 percent said the Finnish people, 14 percent said the Nato application process and 10 percent cited the country's government and foreign policy.

The ministry-sponsored (siirryt toiseen palveluun) survey was carried out by polling firm Bloom Consulting, querying around 4,000 adults from middle to high income households during July-August 2022.

"All the respondents were internationally active: they have lived or studied abroad, they travel abroad at least twice a year or their job involves dealing with international clients. All the respondents have a graduate degree," the ministry explained, adding that it plans to publish more findings from the survey early next year.

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