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All Points North #59 Brexit: The unknown unknowns

A hard Brexit will likely introduce a "new normal" -- and practical tips for getting through the messy UK-EU breakup.

Audio: Yle News

Life may never be the same after a hard Brexit and people may have to get used to a "new normal". That’s the view of Helsinki University European Studies researcher Timo Miettinen, discussing the latest twists and turns in the Brexit saga on APN.

Miettinen was joined by British Ambassador to Finland Tom Dodd who said that if the UK leaves the EU with a deal to govern future relations, life would go on as usual. However he said that a no-deal Brexit would mainly create problems for businesses rather than people. "On the first of November, planes will continue to fly and a lot of life will move on," Dodd told APN.

Helsinki University researcher Miettinen and Dodd pondered the many Brexit scenarios currently on offer, including a 31 October departure without or without a deal, a new election that would kick the can down the road, and a postponement of the UK’s divorce from the EU. Miettinen said that if the EU grants the UK an extension, it would likely be until April 2020. However Dodd countered that the British government is not currently looking to delay its departure from the bloc.

Notes on registration, pensions and travel

The UK ambassador reminded UK citizens living in Finland that it is important to register their residency in Finland and to convert their driver’s permits to Finnish versions. Brits would also do well to check that their passports are valid for at least six months beyond the 31 October withdrawal date, he advised.

He said that UK nationals registered in Finland after a three-month stay should have their rights protected until December 2020, the time when a transitional deal agreed with the Finnish government will end. He added that the UK government is seeking 'equivalency' for citizens across all EU states post-Brexit.

Dodd also noted that the British government will continue to pay pensions to retirees in Finland for the next couple of years. In response to audience questions about travelling with a British passport post-Brexit, he noted that immigration checks do not affect in-transit passengers and added that airline passengers will likely find that they have to join a different queue to go through immigration.

The ambassador referred UK citizens in Finland to the embassy’s Living in Finland guide for answers to Brexit-related questions. The Finnish Immigration Service Migri has a page with dedicated Brexit resources and advice and British nationals can also visit the UK government's website for updates. Ambassador Dodd has been hosting a series of town hall sessions to meet citizens and answer their queries; the next town hall will be in Kuopio on 17 September.

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The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed.

This week's podcast presenters were Pamela Kaskinen and Ronan Browne. Denise Wall produced the show and the audio engineer was Katja Kostiainen.

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