A survey published by MTV3 (in Finnish) on December 12 showed that the majority of those polled do not want their municipality to accept refugees. Even though 34% had no opinion on the matter, 46% said they were either against or very much against their municipality accepting new refugees. Only 20% were either in favor or very much in favor of accepting refugees.
Another question asked was whether the state should force municipalities to accept refugees. The responses were pretty clear: 70% said no, 16% maybe. 8% yes and 6% had no opinion.
Even though the recession is a factor that has forced Finns to have a more negative attitude of refugees, one cannot place the full blame on the economic situation. Contrary to the recession of the early 1990s, when unemployment soared close to 20%, the jobless rate in October stood at 8.2% versus 5.8% a year ago, according to Statistics Finland.
In my opinion, these types of polls only reinforce old stereotypes of foreigners in general and refugees in particular in Finland. There are very few polls that show what immigrants and refugees think about living in Finland and the impact of high unemployment and exclusion.
Even though the economic situation has got worse, some Finns use this as a pretext to justify their prejudice against refugees and immigrants. Such attitudes are, in my opinion, a failure of the education system and the fact that there are still very few refugees and immigrants living in the country.