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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Barnier confirms UK will be less secure after Brexit

As predicted by some of us during the European referendum campaign two years ago and foreshadowed in various articles ever since, Europe's chief negotiator has now confirmed that Britain will be locked out of EU policing and security databases after Brexit.

As the Independent reports, in a speech in Vienna Michel Barnier said the UK would also lose access to the European arrest warrant and that UK representatives would no longer have a role in managing agencies such as Europol and Eurojust:

The chief negotiator said EU security cooperation was based on “trust”, but said: “This trust doesn’t fall from the sky, there is no magic wand. This trust is founded on an ecosystem … If you leave this ecosystem you lose the benefits of this cooperation.”

He continued: “If we want to build a new relationship, we need a basis of good will, a basis of confidence between us – but we also need more realism about what is and what is not possible.”

Turning to Britain, he added: “They try to blame us for the consequences of their choice. Once again, we will not be drawn into this blame game. It will mean wasting time, and we don’t have time.”

The European Commission says expedited extradition could still be possible between the EU and UK but that it would have to be “organised differently”. Mr Barnier also said the EU was open to exchanging security information with the UK but that this could not be based “on access to EU-only or Schengen-only databases”.

The new bilateral system could make use of liaison officers and would be a reciprocal arrangement, Mr Barnier said.

The bloc also says any cooperation with the UK on the issue would be conditional on Britain remaining subject to the European Court of Human Rights and its convention – which Theresa May has previously toyed with leaving. UK data protection rules would also have to stay aligned with those of the EU, a document spelling out the plan says. Proposals laid out by European Commission officials say the agreement would have a “guillotine clause” that would terminate the agreement if these conditions were not adhered to.

The irony is that this wasn't inevitable. However, the path chosen by the UK Government in interpreting the result of the referendum and their insistence on having the final word on the deal over Parliament and the electorate, has put them on his collision course. As a result we will be a lot less secure in the UK and our efforts to tackle international crime and terrorism less effective.
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