A recent survey conducted by the Estonia company Turu-uuringute AS in the Baltics has confirmed wide support for strong ties with the Nordic countries. A similar Nordic opinion poll indicates that 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, 84 and 89 % respectively in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The corresponding results for 2021 were 90, 80 and 68 %. The mean value for all respondents in the Baltic had thereby slightly fell from 4,50 to 4,32, with a more significant decrease in Lithuania.
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 % of the respondents in Latvia answered that there was no such thing. The highest scores of critics of the Nordics were arrogance/superiority (7 %), high cost of living (6 %) and gender equality policy (6 %). The Estonians were mostly critical about immigration policy (18 %) and bureaucracy (13 %), while the Lithuanians mentioned the cold climate (5 %) and too strong laws on children´s rights protection (5 %).
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 %), followed by Sweden and Norway, while the Lithuanians most often mentioned Norway (27 %) followed by Sweden and Denmark. In Latvia, Sweden was put first (36 %), followed by Norway (22 %) and Finland (16 %).
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 % of the respondents replied 3-5 and 48 % 4-5. The figures were highest in Finland (3-5 – 88 %, 4-5 – 65 %), followed by Sweden (75 and 47 %), Iceland (72 and 48 %), Denmark (70 and 39 %) and Norway (68 and 40 %). Men in the Nordics were slightly more positive to cooperation with the Baltic countries (78 and 54 %) than women (71 and 40 %). Among different age groups, there was a slightly higher support among the oldest respondents aged 65+ (80 and 56 %), but also the younger Nordic generation (16-34 years old) were positive to good cooperation with the Baltics (72 and 42 %)