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David Davis warns lives could be at risk after Brexit amid Galileo satellite row

David Davis warns lives could be at risk after Brexit amid Galileo satellite row

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Brussels could be putting lives at risk if the UK is shut out of a €10bn space satellite project, David Davis has warned.


The Brexit Secretary said Britain would be unable to help tackle threats from countries like Russia if it is unable to share data with the Galileo scheme.

It is the latest blast in the ongoing row over the initiative, which is set to rival the US-run Global Positioning System (GPS) when it is launched 2020.

Concerns have been raised that the UK could be blocked from the project in future over legal issues around sharing sensitive information with a non-member state.

The EU has suggested key components previously manufactured in the UK could made on the Continent, while Britain has mulled stopping British overseas territories from being used as monitoring bases.

In a thinly-veiled warning - without naming the Galileo system - Mr Davis said: “Our negotiating partners have a choice: they can treat us as a third country according to existing precedents creating something that falls well short of our existing [security] relationship.”

In his statement he said they could otherwise “take a more adaptable approach in which we jointly deliver the operational capability that we need to tackle the ever-evolving threats to our shared security”.

And he added: “To protect our citizens’ security, we need to look beyond existing precedents and find a solution that allows us to continue to work together.

“There is no legal or operational reason why such an agreement could not be reached." Chief Brexit negotiator on the EU side Michel Barnier has previously said: “The EU cannot share security-relevant proprietary information with countries outside the EU.

“But there are of course ways Galileo can co-operate with third-countries and these are open to the UK as well.”

A government spokesperson said: “We have been clear all along on our position on Galileo — we want full access. As ministers have said repeatedly, nothing is off the table going forward.

“It is in our mutual interest to remain in the programme as part of a strong security partnership with Europe.”

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