HELSINKI – EU popularity takes a toll

The less than satisfactory handling of the coronavirus crisis has negatively affected the EU’s popularity in Finland according to a survey published last week by business and policy think tank EVA. And this despite popularity for the bloc being traditionally higher than in many other member states. 

The survey, carried out between 26 March and 3 April, shows that since last autumn positive attitudes towards the Union have decreased by 7%, while negative opinions have correspondingly increased by the same percentage.

In total, 20% of those interviewed see the Union now in a negative light.

Still, the majority of 53% support Finland’s continued membership. 

In an interview with Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), EVA’s Research Manager, Ilkka Haavisto, said the reasons for the drop were linked to the manner in which the EU appeared to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Cooperation and solidarity between EU countries had proved to be more of a mirage than reality, particularly when it came to obtaining protective equipment.

On Saturday (9 May), EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, admitted in a YLE current affairs programme that the Union had been caught off guard with regard to virus’ speed and scale. According to her, the EU must learn the lesson and create clear operational models for future crises. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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