Security must transcend ideology, UK’s May to tell EU

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May talks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2018. — Reuters picBritain’s Prime Minister Theresa May talks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2018. — Reuters picLONDON, Feb 17 — Britain and the EU must not let ideological differences block co-operation over security matters after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May will say in a speech in Munich today, her office said.

Britain says that the issue of security is too important to become entangled in the compromises of Brexit negotiations, and yesterday May said that she was unconditionally committed to European security.

She will warn the European Union of “damaging real-world consequences” if qualms over the institutional arrangements Britain will have with the EU after it leaves the bloc undermine co-operation on security matters.

“We must do whatever is most practical and pragmatic in ensuring our collective security,” she will say, according to extracts of her speech released by her office.

“This cannot be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our co-operation and jeopardise the security of our citizens.”

Britain has said that leaving the EU means that European courts should no longer have jurisdiction in Britain. May will argue that this should not make it harder to extradite terrorists or share information.

Britain’s interior minister last year warned the EU it could “take our information with us” if it left the bloc without a deal on security matters, jeopardising its membership of agencies such as Europol.

The government’s policy paper on security said that co-operation should be maintained and intensified, but acknowledged that a new form of agreement was needed because there was no satisfactory precedent for security co-operation between states.

“I recognise there is no existing security agreement between the EU and a third country that captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship,” May will say, adding there is a precedent for comprehensive, strategic relationships between the EU and other countries in other areas.

“There is no legal or operational reason why such an agreement could not be reached in the area of internal security.” — Reuters