Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Theresa May says European Union should sign new security treaty with UK

Theresa May says European Union should sign new security treaty with UK

With other parts of the exit negotiations mired in uncertainty, London hopes a security treaty would entrench mutual co-operation under common goal of protecting European population against threats that do not recognise global borders.

Mrs May has consistently said that she won't use security as a bargaining chip, that her offer is "unconditional" but that's no guarantee that the EU would simply accept a request from the United Kingdom to continue to be a part of Europol or the European Arrest Warrant. No similar agreement exists between the European Union and a third country that covers anything near the scale of the cooperation in the UK's existing relationship as a member state.

What was at stake was issues such as thwarting terror attacks and seamless extradition arrangements under the European arrest warrants.

"Our ability to keep our people safe depends ever more on working together", she said.

"We as 27 will be very carefully vetting that process to see to it that it is as close as possible but that it is different to what Britain now has as a member - which is what they want and what the British people want but this does not mean that it needs to be cherry-picking".

"As leaders, we can not let that happen".

At the same time, she asked the European Union to respect Britain's "unique status", whether it concerned its strict data protection laws or its defense and security capabilities.

Concern has been growing among European business leaders that Britain's exit from the EU will be far from seamless, causing considerable disruption to companies on both sides of the Channel.

Mr Juncker said security should not be conflated with "other questions relating to Brexit", but also quashing any British hopes that a security treaty might be a way into a free-trade deal.

One senior European Union official in Munich said that May would need to submit a formal negotiating paper to detail her ideas and then allow European Union and British negotiators to move forward.

Speaking after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May stressed the importance of economic ties between Britain and Germany that she said "secures and generates hundreds of thousands of jobs in both countries".

"The key aspects of our future partnership in this area will already be effective from 2019", she said.

"Her reckless threat to use security co-operation as a way of trying to blackmail the European Union into giving her a deal will only poison the negotiating well yet further". However there was little sign of progress.

The U.K.'s Institute of Directors (IoD) announced a new report Friday called "Customizing Brexit - A hybrid option for a U.K. -EU trade framework", detailing what type of customs agreement the U.K. could seek with Europe and proposing an arrangement similar to Turkey's customs relationship with the bloc.

During a question and answer session German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger sparked a round of applause from the audience of diplomats and security experts when he said it would be easier if Britain remained in the EU. "European military co-operation is no alternative to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", he said.

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