Four in Five Finns Want to Abandon Russian Energy Despite Risk of Rising Costs – Poll
05:41 GMT 17.05.2022 (Updated: 06:21 GMT 17.05.2022)
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Unknown / Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, FinlandOlkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland
Several rounds of EU sanctions, coupled with plans to abandon Russian energy completely within five years, have plunged the bloc into crisis with rocketing inflation and rising costs, prompting countries to devise contingency plans that include emergency loans and rationing.
Four-fifths of Finns are willing to stop using Russian energy, a fresh survey by Greenpeace has found.
Wholly 78 percent of respondents said Finland should cease importing Russian energy even if such a move would incur rising costs.
“The results are a clear message to the government. Finland can and should independently cease Russian energy imports and not wait for any potential EU sanctions,” Greenpeace climate and energy specialist Olli Tiainen said in a statement.
According to Greenpeace, age and education played a strong part in how willing a person was to decouple from Russian energy: the older and better educated the respondent, the likelier he or she was to favour abandoning Russian energy imports. Nearly 90 percent of university graduates wanted to give up Russian energy.
Having a family also appeared to be a factor in whether someone favoured breaking with Russian energy, with three-quarters of those with children wanting to end imports in spite of the costs caused by such a move.
By contrast, those who were unemployed seemed less enthusiastic about stopping Russian energy imports. Still, wholly 70 percent of jobless respondents wanted Finland to cease the imports.
The youngest sample ranging from 15 to 24 were the most reluctant to abandon Russian energy, with just above a fifth of respondents in this age group believing that Finland should wean itself off Russian energy.
Though Finland imports most of its gas from neighbouring Russia, gas only accounts for about 5 percent of its annual energy consumption. However, it plays a major role for Finnish industry, and its loss would force numerous companies in the forestry, chemical and food industries to find alternative energy sources.
Earlier, Russia cut off electricity supplies to Finland, citing a lack of payment for the first time in decades. According to Fingrid, the Finnish transmission operator, the Russian electricity only made up 10 percent of the country's consumption and would be replaced by imports from Sweden and electricity generated domestically.
Energy deliveries have loomed large over the European Union as the bloc attempts to impose more sanctions on Russian energy in response to Moscow’s special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, despite warnings from experts that the move would hurt Europe more than Russia.
The EU has introduced several packages of sanctions and pledged to reduce the 27-nation bloc's dependence on Russian oil, gas, and coal drastically. In March, the EU, which gets about 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia, announced plans to cut its reliance by two-thirds during 2022 and cut deliveries completely within five years. This prompted several of the more dependent members to devise contingency plans that include emergency loans and rationing.