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Finns' attitudes towards immigrants soften

A new think tank report suggests that Finnish attitudes towards immigrants have become a little more open in recent years, after a spike in negative viewpoints at the end of the last decade.

Tummaihoinen mies istuu bussin penkillä.
Image: Juha-Pekka Inkinen / Yle

The EVA pro-market think tank found in their latest survey that although attitudes have eased, Finns are still more likely to have a negative than receptive attitude towards immigrants.

Only one in three Finns thinks that the immigration process should be simplified to help mitigate the effects of an ageing population. More than 40 percent of people rejected the idea. Those rejecting the proposal were more than ten percentage points more numerous last year.

Nearly half of all Finns consider immigration to be a culturally enriching phenomenon. On the other hand, every other Finn believes that a tentative stance towards foreigners is "wise caution" rather than racism.

According to EVA, attitudes have returned to the level of negativity seen before the financial crisis took hold, causing Finns to become more wary of foreigners.

There were big differences in the attitudes displayed by supporters of different parties. Finns party voters are more negative towards foreigners, while Greens and Swedish Peoples party supporters are the most welcoming.

EVA asked Finns’ opinions on immigration during this year’s attitudes and values study. They questioned 1,271 people in January.

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