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Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, arrives at the Government Palace to meet with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, in Helsinki, Finland on April 5, 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, arrived in Finland on Thursday to discuss how the UK’s exit from the European Union—which has voted to depart the EU on March 29, 2019—is going to affect Finland.

After brief talks, Sipilä told the media that Finland’s main interest is to secure the role of Helsinki Airport as an international transportation hub and Finnair’s position as the national carrier, which operates direct flights to Asia.

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Part of Finnair’s strategy is to gather passengers from all over Europe to Helsinki, from where a trip to Tokyo, for example, lasts only 9 hours and 30 minutes.

After the UK has divorced the EU, flights to the British soil could become problematic and British planes would not automatically be allowed to land at airports within the Union.

A present danger in the Brexit negotiations is that the EU and the UK would come into an agreement between them in relation to flight traffic, but could leave the international passenger traffic within the EU countries out of the agreement.

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Barnier is here to stop this.

“I will visit the Helsinki Airport very early tomorrow and discuss with their leadership about the subject,” he said.

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Read more about Barnier’s visit in our Saturday’s newsletter.