- Sebastian Widmann / Getty
- British Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed a new security agreement between the UK and the EU.
- The new treaty would aim to keep people safe “now and in the years ahead.”
- The speech comes after critics have accused Brexit and May of putting joint working to combat terrorism and crime at risk.
Theresa May has proposed a new UK-EU security treaty to maintain full cooperation when Britain leaves the European Union.
Speaking to representatives of more than 70 countires at a conference in Munich on Saturday morning, she stressed that “security and prosperity is bound to global security and prosperity,” and that Britain wants to continue cooperation with Europe as it leaves the European Union.
“The British people took a legitimate decision to bring decision-making and accountability closer to home, but it has always been the case that our security at home is best advanced through global operation, working with institutions that support that, including the EU,” she said.
“Changing the structures by which we work together should not mean we lose sight of our common aim – the protection of our people and the advance of our common interests across the world.
She added: “The UK is just as committed to Europe’s security in the future as we have been in the past. Europe’s security is our security.”
The speech – titled “Road to Brexit: A Security Partnership” – comes after critics have accused the Prime Minister of “putting joint working to combat terrorism and organised crime at risk,” according to The Independent, as Brexit threatens Britain’s membership of the European arrest warrant and Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency.
It also poses a threat to the swapping of “vital intelligence information” and access to the Schengen Information System (SIS), which holds an 8,000-name watchlist of suspected terror suspects.
While May acknowledged that there is no existing security agreemenet between the EU and a third country that “captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship,” she added that there is “no legal or operational reason why such an agreement could not be reached.”
The new security partnership would involve “real political will on both sides” and aim to keep people safe “now and in the years ahead” through “practical cooperation” towards wanted or convincted serious criminals, ensursing the evidence to support their convictions “moves seamlessly between the UK and EU member states.”
It would also involve cooperation between law enforcement agencies, as well as with the SIS, contributing real-time data on wanted criminals and suspected terrorists.
Among the requirements the treaty must fulfil, May stressed that it must be “respectful of both the sovereignty of the UK and the EU’s legal orders,” “recognise the importance of data protection arrangements,” and that it “must have the ability to ensure that as threats we face change, the relationship has the capacity to move with them.”
However, May warned that is this cooperation was abolished, it would mean an end to the exchange of data through Europol, and “would damage us both and put all our citizens at greater risk.”
“As internal and external secury become more and more intwined, with hostile networks no longer only outed in state-based agression, and weapons designed not just to be deployed on the battlefield, but through cyberspace, so our ability to keep our people safe depends evermore on working together,” she said.
Speaking on the attacks in Westminster, Manchester, and London, May said: “These people don’t care in they kill and maim Parisians, Berliners, Londoners, or Mancunians, because it’s the common values that we all share that they seek to attack and defeat.
“But I say we will not let them.”