Support for NATO membership unchanged since late 2018, still high ({{commentsTotal}})

A NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Washington D.C. last year.
A NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Washington D.C. last year. Source: AFP/Scanpix

Support for continued NATO membership in Estonia remains high, according to recent research, with 75 percent of the population in favor.

The research, carried out by pollsters Turu-uuringute on behalf of the defence ministry in March this year, breaks down as 43 percent of respondents "definitely" in favor of NATO membership, and 32 percent "preferably" in support, according to BNS.

The figure is unchanged from previous research in October 2018.

The figure rises to 90 percent support when taking the solely ethnic Estonian sector of the population into account.

Fifteen percent of respondents opposed NATO membership, with 9 percent unable to provide a stance on the issue.

NATO support in proportion to integration

Among respondents of "other ethnic backgrounds", 44 percent were in favor – again unchanged from last October – 38 percent were against, with 18 percent uncommitted.

The survey's creators claim that support for NATO membership amongst those of "other" backgrounds than ethnic Estonian increases in direct proportion to integration and familiarity with the Estonian language.

Thus the sector of Estonian society expressing the lowest levels of support for membership of NATO were non-ethnic Estonians and non-citizens aged 40-59, with low levels of Estonian language skills, the report said.

Conversely, over 66 percent of non-ethnic Estonians below the age of 30 support NATO membership, as do over half respondents with "good" Estonian language skills.

Factors causing respondents to oppose NATO membership include events taking place globally, including political developments, and media coverage of these events.

This explains why support amongst non-Estonians has risen, since March 2018 and earlier, when it stood at 30 percent. Events such as the April 2007 "bronze soldier night" riots, and the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, were factors working against NATO support, it is reported.

Estonia joined NATO in 2004.

The survey polled just over 1,200 Estonian residents aged 15 or older.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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