Finns and Estonians like-minded in greater collaboration, disagree on military cooperation
According to a study conducted by the Finnish public broadcasting company Yle, both Estonians and Finns would like to see their respective countries collaborating to a greater extent. Both nationalities saw tourism, culture and economy as potent fields for increased collaboration, whilst opinions on defense cooperation differed notably.
In conducting the study, six potential fields for increased cooperation between Estonia and Finland were defined, including tourism, industrial investments, culture and arts, economic trade, the flow of workforce between the two countries, and military cooperation.
Both Estonians (89 percent) and Finns (72 percent) found that the most important area for increased cooperation was trade.
According to the Finns (70 percent), the second most important field for cooperation was tourism, whereas Estonians (82 percent) rated both culture and industrial investments as next in line.
Culture as a collaborative effort placed third amongst the Finns (63 percent), whilst for Estonians (70 percent) tourism took third place. Industrial investments rated fourth amongst the Finns (57 percent).
The flow of workforce between Estonia and Finland placed fifth amongst representatives of both nationalities. However, varying opinions can be seen to emerge, with 74 percent of Estonians at the helm of labor force as a field for increased cooperation. Meanwhile, only 45 percent of responding Finns found the same.
In regarding the sixth and final field, military cooperation, distinctively differing opinions grow clear, with 67 percent of Estonians hoping to see greater collaboration between the two nations, whilst only 31 percent of Finns found joint military efforts a necessity.
Estonians and Finns see each other in a positive light
The study also investigated impressions amongst the two nationalities, posing the question "How do you generally perceive Estonians/Finns?" with potential responses ranging from ratings of 1 ("very warmly – they're like brothers and sisters to me") to 4 ("very coldly - I think they're quite suspicious"), with a fifth response for those who found themselves uncertain ("I do not know").
Only 15 percent of Finns found themselves to have a very warm perception of Estonians, whilst 21 percent of Estonians felt the same way towards their northern neighbors. The predominant attitude was feeling rather warm towards each other ("I like them"), with 66 percent of Finns and 54 percent of Estonians professing to a bilateral fondness.
A rather cold attitude ("I don't really like them") towards each other was noted amongst 11 percent of Finnish and 9 percent of Estonian respondents, whilst 2 percent of both nationalities found each other quite suspicious and thus in a very cold position towards the other. The "I do not know" box was ticked by 5 percent of Finns and 15 percent of Estonians.