A YouGov survey shows that 74% of Finns are against debt relief for Greece with the same amount blaming present and past governments for the country’s financial problems, reports the English service of YLE.
Compared with other countries, 73% of Finnish respondents were the most critical blaming the present and past Greek governments for the country’s deep financial problems. That was followed by Denmark (70%), Sweden (65%), Germany (59%), Britain (38%) and France (33%).
Read full story here.
Finnish respondents (74%) also took the hardest line insisting that the terms of the bailout as originally agreed should be respected.
See full YouGov poll result here.
While it’s perfectly understandable that people are upset by what is happening in Greece, the poll reveals a lot more about how Finland has shifted from being a proactive country in the international arena to one that is ever-suspicious of the outside world.
If we look at Finnish history rapidly we can see a slow but certain political and economic integration with Western Europe during the Cold War that culminated in EU membership in 1995.
Since the last decade, however, and especially after the 2011 elections, when an anti-immigration and EU-skeptic party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* emerged from the political minor leagues to become the third largest in parliament, matters have started to shift the other way.
Finns have been bombarded not only by near-constant populism and xenophobic rhetoric about foreigners and the outside world from PS politicians and with the complacent silence of other parties and media, but by a worsening political situation in Russia, the Ukraine and economic recession in the EU, which have given a boost to nationalistic rhetoric.
Should we be surprised why the present government can easily slash development aid by 48%?
Should we be surprised if our foreign minister, Timo Soini, is a EU-skeptic and the main apologist for those party members that spread xenophobia and nationalism?
Not at all.
The trend in Finland is to become more insular and suspicious of the outside world. As we climb into our own shell it will be only a matter of time when we’ll start to even suspect our own shadow.
The PS is only one example of how Finland has changed for the worse during the past years and how its twenty-year experiment by becoming a more open and international-minded country are coming to a screeching halt.
I hope that matters won’t get worse but if they do our myopic view of the outside world will cause more harm than good and destroy all the good that we were able to build between 1995 and 2015.
* The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.