Theresa May reiterated on Thursday her desire for a “good deal” for the UK and the EU, warning that the cost of not achieving one could undermine the security of European citizens.
Therefore, the British prime minister argued, security cooperation with the UK should continue even after it becomes a “third country” in March 2019.
She made her case during dinner.
Speaking during a migration-focused discussion on Thursday, Theresa May underscored that disrupting cooperation on security would put EU citizens in danger, pointing to the significance of UK intelligence. “We would no longer be able to share real-time alerts for wanted persons,” she warned, adding that Europe would give up “our collective ability to map terrorist networks across Europe.”
The UK government is calling for the uninterrupted sharing of the Prum database – with information on DNA profiles – and the Second-Generation Schengen Information System.
Sharing intelligence and pooling investigative resources requires a common human rights framework. However, the UK government insists that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will cease to be part of UK law when Britain leaves the EU. In addition, the UK will not accept European Court of Justice (ECJ) jurisdiction.
The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator has signalled that the disruption of security cooperation is inevitable. Michel Barnier made clear that one cannot have the arrest warrant without freedom of movement.
Still, the UK is seeking to maintain extradition and intelligence sharing arrangement, even to the point of seeking some form of associate membership of Europol; the operation significance of the UK in security is put forward as an argument to change the broader normative framework.
The UK wants similar “associated” membership status in the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Aviation Safety Agency that will ensure the UK is not a “rule taker.”
EU leaders had little time or sympathy for Mrs May’s cabinet divisions and parliamentary hurdles on Thursday. The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar said the UK should have had a Brexit position paper two years ago – or “before people voted” – underscoring that 500 million people and 27 do not negotiate with the UK as an equal. The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said that everyone’s “first, second and third” priority now is to address the Irish border issue.