Half of Finland opposes NATO base in Nordic country
Less than half of Finns support Finland's active participation in the US-led bloc's international activities.
Almost less than half of Finland’s residents do not support the creation of a permanent NATO base on Finnish soil after the Nordic country joins the alliance, according to results of a survey conducted by Finland’s MTV channel, published on Monday.
According to the poll, 48% of those polled were opposed to establishing a military base and deploying a permanent NATO contingent in Finland after it joins the bloc. 39% of those polled supported the measure, while 13% did not respond to the question.
The TV channel revealed that 49% of Finns support Finland’s active participation in the US-led bloc’s international activity and joint military operations under its auspices, while around 42% of the respondents think that the Nordic nation should limit itself to issues of its own security.
The survey was carried out between December 27 and January 4. Over 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 79 took part. The margin of error in the poll was about 3%.
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In early July 2022, the foreign ministers of Finland and Sweden as well as the ambassadors of 30 NATO member states signed protocols for the two Nordic nations to join NATO in an official ceremony at the bloc’s headquarters.
Helsinki and Stockholm will join NATO after all the alliance’s countries ratify the documents. Hungary intends to ratify the agreement in February 2023.
Earlier, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that NATO has strengthened its presence in Sweden and Finland since the two nations requested to join the alliance, and it is "inconceivable" that they would not be defended despite the fact that the ratification has not yet been completed.
At a defense conference in Salen, Sweden, Stoltenberg said that a number of NATO countries have to give Sweeden and Finland "security assurances," and that NATO has "increased its presence" in that region.
Accordingly, he argued, "It is inconceivable that NATO would not act if the security of Sweden and Finland is threatened."
Given that 28 out of 30 NATO member nations ratified accession protocols for both Sweeden and Finland, Stoltenberg added "I am confident that we will soon be able to warmly welcome you as full members of NATO."