Saturday

21st Oct 2017

UK wants to keep EU security cooperation

  • Police during the terrorist attack in London on 22 March (Photo: Reuters)

Britain has published proposals on a new security agreement with the EU after Brexit, as London tries to push talks to focus on the future relationship, while the EU is keen on closing the divorce deal first.

The UK government came out with its sixth policy paper on Monday (18 September), in which it did not rule out taking part in Europol, the EU's police force, and Eurojust, the bloc's judicial cooperation.

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According to the paper, Britain still hopes to continue to contribute and benefit from the Schengen Information System, which alerts authorities of wanted or missing persons and objects.

It also sees the European investigation order, which allows member states to conduct inquiries in other countries, another system that allows to share DNA, and the European arrest warrant, which allows wanted individuals to be extradited between EU countries, as key parts of the "toolkit" against joint threats.

Britain aims to "intensify" cooperation to help "in the fight against crime and terrorism".

It is a significant change since spring, when prime minister May suggested to use security cooperation as a bargaining chip in the talks.

The UK government argues that both sides should maintain the close cooperation after March 2019, as it serves both the EU and Britain.

UK-EU security cooperation currently goes beyond criminal matters.

The UK has one of the largest defence budgets in the EU, and is not only a member of the Nato military alliance, but - along with France - is the only other member state with a permanent seat on the UN security council.

"A new security treaty with the EU would be underpinned by our shared principles, and should make sure our partnership has the agility to respond to the ever-changing threats we face," Brexit secretary David Davis said in Monday's publication.

The UK has been putting out policy papers that focus on the future relationship. while the EU insists on finalising the divorce deal first before future cooperations could be discussed.

Talks have been stalling, as the UK has failed to produce a position on how much it is willing to pay of the commitments it made before it decided to leave the bloc.

It is expected that Theresa May will try to give a push to those talks with her speech on Friday, where she might touch on the financial settlement and a possible transition deal with the EU after Brexit.

In preparation for what could be a new chapter in the talks, May has reshuffled her Brexit personnel.

Oliver Robbins left his post as permanent secretary for the department for exiting the EU, to focus full time on the negotiations as May's EU adviser.

The move is seen as an effort on the part of May to strengthen her control over the negotiations.

Over the summer, reports have emerged on an increasing power struggle between David Davis and Robbins in the department for exiting the European Union.

Olly Robbins, along ith EU negotiator Michel Barnier's deputy, Sabine Weyand were in charge of the negotiating team on Northern Ireland, it is yet uncelar whether that structure will change.

The next round of talks will take place next week after May gives a speech in Florence about her government's Brexit strategy.

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