Continuing our series of topical issues and debating the impact of Brexit upon them, Stratford4Europe turns to the question of security. The Foreign Affairs Committee, a cross-party committee of MPs appointed by the House of Commons to scrutinise Government on foreign policy issues, has recently published a report, The future of UK diplomacy in Europe.
Stratford4Europe notes from the Conclusions, “The task of representing the UK’s interests and exercising influence in the EU institutions will be more difficult when the UK is a third country.”
Tom Tugendhat MP (Cons), who chairs the Committee, wrote in the Times, “So, what level of access will the UK have to EU foreign, security and defence policy after Brexit? How will we manage our bilateral relationships with our friends and allies in Europe? How can we continue to play a role European foreign policy, security and defence in order to protect and project the values and interests that we share with Europe?
More than 18 months after the referendum, the Foreign Office still does not have answers to these crucial questions, and time is running short.”
Read the full report from Parliament here.
Constituents’ Note – The MP for Stratford-on-Avon, Nadhim Zahawi, sits upon this Committee. Mr Zahawi was not present at the meeting of Tuesday 23 January 2018, in which the Formal Minutes show that this report and summary, proposed by the Chair, was read and agreed to.
Today, Wednesday 21 March, the Home Affairs Committee published a timely report, UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit. It warns of “serious legal, constitutional and political obstacles in the way of achieving continued close policing and security cooperation after Brexit. It cautions that these issues need urgently to be resolved, or the UK’s future policing and security capabilities will be seriously undermined.”
The Committee concluded that “the UK should seek to maintain its security capabilities in full after Brexit – including Europol membership, replicating the provisions of the European Arrest Warrant, and retaining full access to EU data-sharing mechanisms – and the Government is right to aim to secure those in a Security Treaty, separate from the other negotiations.”
And that “the Government should be honest about the complex technical and legal obstacles to achieving such a close degree of cooperation as a third country. It is crucial that the negotiations in this area start imminently, and the Government and the EU must be ready to extend the transition period for security arrangements beyond the proposed end-date of December 2020.”
Download and read the report UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit in full.