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National security post-Brexit

17 November 2017
National security post-Brexit

The UK faces serious disruption to security cooperation, and a potential ‘cliff-edge’, if it fails to act quickly to secure a security deal with the EU. This is the finding of a report by The UK in a Changing Europe, a King’s based centre that promotes rigorous independent research into the complex relationship between the UK and the European Union.

“Despite a shared desire to cooperate closely in future, nothing can be taken for granted.

– Professor Anand Menon, Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politic and Foreign Affairs

The report, which is informed by interviews with academics, lawyers and sources from the UK government and EU, shows that significant decisions need to be made at an early stage with consideration of their long term implications and very careful communication with the public. At the very least, this might allow the police and other agencies to prepare for the most likely scenarios.

Understanding the complexities of Brexit

Based at King’s and led by Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, The UK in a Changing Europe produce regular reports and analysis that have been increasingly vital in helping government and policymakers understand the complexities of Brexit as negotiations continue.

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Good intentions are not enough

The report – Post-Brexit law enforcement cooperation: negotiations and future options – argues the UK Government has provided little in the way of specifics concerning what future security cooperation with the EU will look like. Negotiations will be hugely time-consuming and cannot be left until the last minute to resolve. The report suggests that good intentions are not enough and both sides will need to maintain a strong partnership in the interests of public safety and national security.

Professor Anand Menon, Director of The UK in a Changing Europe said: “The UK and the EU have a clear incentive to continue to cooperate over law enforcement and counter-terrorism, given the obvious threats confronting them. Both sides have made it clear that they want a close relationship in this area in future. 

“But this is fiendishly complex. When negotiations are likely to involve constitutional issues, disagreements over the role of the ECJ and trade-offs from both sides, good intentions are not enough. Despite a shared desire to cooperate closely in future, nothing can be taken for granted.

“There is a danger that, unless the British Government acts quickly to define more clearly what it wants and how it might achieve it, another Brexit cliff edge – in security –  might be on the horizon.”

Assessing the impact of Brexit

We all have a stake in making a success of Brexit

– Professor Anand Menon

Experts from the UK in a Changing Europe have also devised three objective tests to determine the impact of Brexit on the UK’s foreign and security policies. This report, ‘A successful Brexit: three foreign and security policy tests’, provides a framework for assessing what Brexit might mean for the UK’s international role.

With much of the current debate focussed on politics and process, it is important that the tools exist to allow an assessment of what Brexit has meant for Britain. The tests draw on the key themes that emerged during the EU referendum campaign, including national security, international influence and control. Professor Menon said: ‘We all have a stake in making a success of Brexit but there need to be clear, evidence based ways of assessing its impact.’

Read the full story on the UK in a Changing Europe website or the King’s website

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