Baltic states still support close cooperation with Nordic countries - poll

  • 2021-09-14
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Baltic states still support close cooperation with Nordic countries, according to a survey conducted by Estonian company Turu-uuringute.

As LETA learned from Inga Purina, a representative of the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia, Nordic citizens also find regional cooperation with the Baltics important.

The Baltic survey partly contains the same questions asked in a similar opinion poll in 2018. If in 2018 the share of the respondents that answered four or five on a five-point scale “if good cooperation with the Nordic countries is important” was 91 percent, 84 percent and 89 percent respectively in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The corresponding results for 2021 were 90 percent, 80 percent and 68 percent. 

As in the previous survey, the areas of trade, tourism, education and research, and culture were named as the most important sectors for cooperation in all Baltic countries. In addition, innovation and new technologies, social and welfare policies were ranked highly. The logic for cooperation was mostly explained by the need for small countries to cooperate, geographical proximity, cultural similarities and shared values.

Asked if there is something they don´t like in the Nordics, 66 percent of the respondents in Latvia answered that there was no such thing. The highest scores of critics of the Nordics were arrogance/superiority (7 percent), high cost of living (6 percent) and gender equality policy (6 percent). The Estonians were mostly critical about immigration policy (18 percent) and bureaucracy (13 percent), while the Lithuanians mentioned the cold climate (5 percent) and too strong laws on children´s rights protection (5 percent).

A new question in the survey asked what country in the Nordics the respondents feel closest affinity to. Not surprisingly, the Estonians put Finland in first place (57 percent), followed by Sweden and Norway, while the Lithuanians most often mentioned Norway (27 percent) followed by Sweden and Denmark. In Latvia, Sweden was put first (36 percent), followed by Norway (22 percent) and Finland (16 percent).

The Nordic opinion poll consists of a set of questions on Nordic cooperation, and includes only one question on Baltic cooperation. The full results of the poll will be presented at the Nordic Council session in November, but the answers to the “Baltic question” can already be revealed. In general, the results indicate a strong Nordic support for close cooperation with the Baltic countries. To the question on “how important good cooperation is with the Baltic countries” on a 1-5 scale (1 – not important, 5 – very important), 75 percent of the respondents replied 3-5 and 48 percent 4-5. The figures were highest in Finland (3-5 – 88 percent, 4-5 – 65 percent), followed by Sweden (75 and 47 percent), Iceland (72 and 48 percent), Denmark (70 and 39 percent) and Norway (68 and 40 percent). Men in the Nordics were slightly more positive to cooperation with the Baltic countries (78 and 54 percent) than women (71 and 40 percent). Among different age groups, there was a slightly higher support among the oldest respondents aged 65+ (80 and 56 percent), but also the younger Nordic generation (16-34 years old) were positive to good cooperation with the Baltics (72 and 42 percent).