Security cooperation between the EU and the United Kingdom after Brexit

brexitOne of the four global objectives of the British government in the Brexit process negotiations is to keep the strong ties of cooperation which currently exist between the United Kingdom and the European Union. To focus on this subject, the UK House of Lords published a report in the middle of December about the future security-related relations between this country and the European Union after Brexit.

In the report the main tools and institutions linked to this nature of cooperation are examined: Europol and Eurojust, the sharing of police data and penal justice applications.

There are three main reasons why the focus of the cooperation is optimistic. On the one hand, both parties have a vested interest in wanting to avoid any reduction in the level of security for British and EU citizens. Furthermore, there are precedents of participation in European institutions by non-members and of access to data systems of countries which are not members of the Schengen agreement. Finally, in cases where there are no precedents, both the House of Lords and the government of the United Kingdom feel that previous experience and the participation that their country has had in the EU until now may contribute to reaching agreements.

However, they are aware that negotiations are unlikely to be easy and that there is a risk that the new agreements may lead to a situation which will not be as ideal as the present one. It is also felt that there may be tension due to contradictions in the British government’s global objectives in the process to leave the EU, particularly those involving maintaining strong ties of cooperation in terms of security and of regaining legislative control in favour of Westminster. In response to this problem, the House of Lord’s view is that the security of UK citizens should come first, and points to the 2014 government declarations in relation to this.

One of the inconveniences to be addressed is the operational void which may occur during the transition period between the departure of the UK from the Union and the introduction of the agreements. In this case, the EU mentions the signing of bilateral agreements relating to extradition with similar conditions to those of the European Order of Detention, but over ten years after being signed they have not been applied.

The report recognises that only the most relevant measures have been addressed and that these are part of a complex framework of agreements and measures which make them difficult to label.

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