Interest in the Nordic Region is greatest in Estonia, where 91 percent of respondents say that co-operation with the Nordic Region is important or very important. 65 percent consider it very important. In Lithuania 89 percent of respondents feel that co-operation is important or very important, while the corresponding figure for Latvia is 84 percent.“The survey shows a very keen interest in co-operation with the Nordic countries. This is a pleasing set of data and signals that there is considerable interest in joint projects and the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers in the Baltic countries,” says Christer Haglund, head of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ office in Estonia.
Most people want more co-operation
Furthermore, a large majority of respondents think that co-operation should be expanded. In Lithuania, 88 percent of respondents want more co-operation, followed by 76 percent in Estonia and 67 percent in Latvia.
Geographical proximity and the need for small countries to work together are cited as the primary reasons for Baltic interest in the Nordic Region. The economy, education and science, and tourism feature high on the list of areas that those living in the Baltic countries feel are most important toco-operate on.“The survey shows a very keen interest in co-operation with the Nordic countries. This is a pleasing set of data and signals that there is considerable interest in joint projects and the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers in the Baltic countries.”
According to the respondents, the greatest benefit of co-operation is the ability to learn from one another, which in turn increases trade and the competitiveness of the Baltic countries. When asked what the Baltic countries have to offer when it comes to co-operation, Estonians cited their digital skills; Latvians - their labour, tourism, and culture; and Lithuanians - science and innovation.
Astrid Lindgren and the Vikings
In interviews, respondents were also asked who they instinctively think of - past, present, or fictitious - when they think about the Nordic Region. In Estonia, the clear number one is Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, while Astrid Lindgren, Santa Claus, the Vikings, and “Karlsson på taket” top the list in Latvia and Lithuania.
The survey is the first of its kind in the Baltic countries. 600 people were interviewed by telephone in each country between 16 February and 9 March.
The Nordic Council of Ministers has had offices in the Baltic countries since 1991. The results of the survey will be used in the development of future co-operation programmes.