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Britain seeks comprehensive security and law enforcement partnership with EU after Brexit

Latest future partnership paper stresses the need to build upon and enhance existing internal security cooperation

Police officers

Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.

In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UK’s vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists.

Leaving the EU will change the nature of that cooperation, but it will do little to change the threats we all face or reduce the value of the UK as a security partner.

That is why it is in both our interests to continue to work together as part of a deep and special partnership, to develop a new framework for preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting criminal and terrorist activity across our borders.

The paper calls for a comprehensive model for cooperation between the UK and EU on security, law enforcement and criminal justice — reflecting that Britain’s operational processes and data sharing systems are already uniquely aligned with the EU.

Our three core objectives for these new arrangements are:

  • Protecting the safety and security of our citizens and upholding justice in the UK and across the EU;
  • Maintaining the closest and most cooperative partnerships between Britain and the 27 EU member states; and
  • Continuing to cooperate on the basis of our shared democratic values and respect for the rule of law.

The UK has been one of the leading contributors to the development of effective information sharing and law enforcement cooperation at an EU level – working through agencies such as Europol to bring criminals to justice and prevent crime taking place.

Britain will remain committed to the security of the European continent after Brexit, and our determination to protect the safety and security of EU citizens as well as UK citizens will not diminish.

The EU also recognises the importance of cooperation in this area and has stated it is committed to the fight against terrorism and international crime.

The paper says there should be a new security treaty between the UK and EU after Brexit to provide a legal basis for continued working — and in moving to any new agreement, it will be important to ensure that there are no operational gaps created by the transition from one set of arrangements to another.

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said:

With the shared threats facing us evolving faster than ever before, It’s vital that the UK and EU maintain and strengthen the close security collaboration we currently have.

Together with the EU we have developed some of the world’s most sophisticated systems in the fight against crime — because cross-border cooperation is absolutely crucial if we’re to keep our citizens safe and bring criminals to justice.

That is why we want to build a new partnership with the EU that goes beyond any existing relationship it has with non-member states, so we can continue countering these cross-border threats together.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The recent terror attacks in London, Manchester and across other parts Europe have been stark reminders of the shared and evolving threat the UK and our EU partners face.

That is why it is crucial — for the security of the UK and the continent — that we continue and enhance our cooperation after we leave the EU.

This position paper is the first step towards reaching an agreement to ensure we continue to protect millions of people across Europe.

Read the future partnership paper on Security, law enforcement and criminal justice

Published 18 September 2017