According to the survey, Lithuanians consider the Nordic countries as some of our most important allies. The absolute majority (89 percent) of Lithuanians say it is important for Lithuania to cooperate with the Nordic countries, and 75 percent Lithuanians want to have closer cooperation with the Nordic countries.
The main motives of such cooperation, according to Lithuanians, is the need for small countries to cooperate among themselves, the commonality and geographical situation of Lithuania and the Nordic countries. Elderly people also emphasize a similar structure of society and cultural similarities.
Mindaugas Jurkynas, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy of Vytautas Magnus University, said that the results of the survey show that Lithuanians, like politicians, are increasingly aware that Lithuania is part of the wider Balto-Scandic region in the Northern Europe, close to us.
"The analysis of political speeches has long been showing that alongside the dominant Baltic identity in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia a secondary domain of a wider Northern-Baltic area is emerging, as a perception of the common geography and values. It seems that such attitudes also prevail among the population. Interestingly, in many areas the Lithuanian respondents see the Balto-Scandic trends stronger than Estonians", says M. Jurkynas.
In the opinion of the Lithuanian population, the main areas of Lithuanian cooperation with Scandinavian countries are economy (85 percent), education and science (57 percent), tourism (47 percent) and defence (42 percent). Director of UAB Baltijos Tyrimai Dr. Rasa Ališauskienė notes that Lithuanians refer to the need for cooperation in the field of defence more often than residents of Estonia and Latvia.
According to Mindaugas Jurkynas, such opinions speak of the increased need of friendship with the Nordic countries and the perception of a common threat.
"Direct Nordic investments, study exchanges, migration and tourism flows bring the Baltic and the Nordic societies closer. In addition, aggressive Russia's policy in Northern Europe promotes the search for common security solutions", says M. Jurkynas.
According to Lithuanians, first of all, we can offer our achievements in the areas of innovation and science to the Nordic countries.
When referring to the Nordic countries, the first associations to the Lithuanian population are Vikings, Santa Claus, Carlson, Trolls Mumies, Astrid Lindgren and Olaf Palme. According to Dr. Rasa Ališauskienė, such associations testify the interest of Lithuanians in the history and culture of the northern neighbours. Latvians gave similar answers, meanwhile, Estonians are more likely to focus on the current realities of their closest neighbours and more often mention Nordic politicians.
The first survey about the attitude of the Baltic residents to the Nordic countries and regional cooperation was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The survey took place in all three Baltic states in February-March 2018. In Lithuania, the survey was carried out by UAB Baltijos Tyrimai and it involved 603 Lithuania and residents from the age of 16. The survey sample – national, representative, the error of sole results does not exceed plus/minus 4 percentage points.
For further comments:
Prof. Mindaugas Jurkynas. Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University.
Tel.: +370 698 04446
Dr. Rasa Ališauskienė. Director of UAB Baltijos Tyrimai.
Tel.: +370 699 37171