Friday, 23 March, 2018

United Kingdom security alliance will survive — EU's Juncker

Theresa May speaks at the Security Conference in Munich Theresa May speaks at the Security Conference in Munich
Nellie Chapman | 18 February, 2018, 04:23

May's key point-something she has often referred to when speaking to European leaders and diplomats-is that the security of Britain's citizens is tied to the security of the EU.

Mrs May will tell the security conference the proposed new treaty must be drawn up to allow the partnership to respond swiftly to the world of rapidly evolving threats.

The UK says that while the legal framework for its membership of these arrangements will end when it leaves the European Union in March 2019, it wants to draw up new working arrangements - which ministers have described as being "as close to the status quo as possible".

Post-Brexit security arrangements have yet to be decided.

During her speech, Mrs May softened, slightly, her "red line" that Brexit must end oversight by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) at some point during a two-year transition period.

British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, on february 17, 2018.

She said there were key examples where Britain would continue to seek joint working - for example, over global sanctions, foreign aid and future defence threats such as cyber warfare.

The tensions led Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, to lump the USA with China and Russian Federation as powers that "try to test and undermine the EU's unity".

"This can not 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", she will say.

"People in the United Kingdom feel very strongly that if we take a decision, then governments should turn not round and say no you got that wrong", she said when asked if Britain would consider a second referendum.

During talks with Angela Merkel on Friday, Mrs May said both sides need to be "bold and ambitious" in framing their future relations.

"I recognise there is no existing security agreement between the European Union and a third country that captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship".

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. As leaders, we can not let that happen'.

She told allies from inside and outside Europe our enemies would like nothing more than to see us fractured. They would like nothing more than to see us put debates about mechanisms and means ahead of doing what is most practical and effective in keeping our people safe.

"So let our message ring out loud and clear today: we will not let that happen".

"We would like to initiate those negotiations because we are under a certain amount of time pressure but we also want be very diligent and very careful in working on this which means we will have frequent exchanges of views".

May's speech drew criticism from Remain MPs, who said the Prime Minister is pursuing a Brexit deal with the "deepest level of irony".

They also pushed for an agreement on cross-border information sharing to monitor suspect terrorists, saying failure to mount a collective modern response - including technological innovation - to modern threats would "lead to even greater risk".