British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, said that there should be a security agreement between the UK and the EU to secure citizens by 2019.
British Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded on Saturday for an urgent deal with the European Union on post-Brexit security cooperation, warning that citizens’ lives were at stake.
In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, she acknowledged that no deal currently exists between the EU and a third country “that captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship”.
But she said there was no reason both sides could not come up with practical ways to create a “deep and special partnership” on security.
“We cannot delay discussions on this,” May said.
She also warned European partners not to put politics above cooperation against crime and terrorism.
“This cannot be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our cooperation and jeopardise the security of our citizens,” May told an audience that included European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
The premier warned that if there was no deal on security by the time Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, speedy extraditions under the European Arrest Warrant “would cease”.
And if the UK were no longer part of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, information sharing would be hampered – undermining the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cyberattacks.
“This would damage us both and put all our citizens at greater risk,” May warned, urging European leaders to show “some real creativity and ambition” in coming up with a bespoke UK-EU security pact.
“We must now move with urgency to put in place the treaty to protect all European citizens wherever they are in Europe,” May said.
“But as a country outside the European Union, we will have our own sovereign legal order, so the European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction in the United Kingdom.”
TRT World’s Sarah Morice has more details from Munich.
Junker on UK and Balkans
The head of the European Commission said that the security alliance between the European Union and Britain “will be maintained” after Brexit.
Juncker said at the Munich Security Conference: “I believe, since we are not at war with the UK and we do not want to take revenge on the UK for what the British people have decided, this security alliance, the security bridge between the UK and the EU will be maintained. We still need it.”
Juncker said a future security relationship shouldn’t be mixed up with other Brexit-related issues, arguing that they should be considered individually.
He also underscored the importance of offering countries in the West Balkans the prospect of EU membership, but insisted they must resolve all border disputes before joining the bloc.
“There are many border disputes in the West Balkans and they must be resolved before we can go a step further,” Juncker said.
He said he was frustrated by an ongoing border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia that had not been addressed before they joined the EU, and wanted to prevent a recurrence with other potential EU member states.
Germany on Russia/Ukraine
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he favoured easing some sanctions imposed on Russia if a ceasefire could be implemented in eastern Ukraine with the help of UN peacekeepers.
Gabriel said it was “not realistic” to insist on full implementation of the Minsk peace accords before offering some sanctions relief to Moscow.
Gabriel added that there were still fundamental differences over Russia’s proposal to bring UN peacekeeping forces into eastern Ukraine, but he viewed the idea as “one of the few realistic options” to make some progress on ending the violence that has killed some 10,000 people in the region since 2014.