Theresa May says EU putting its citizens' security at risk over Brexit
European leaders are putting their citizens' lives at risk by refusing to agree a security deal with the UK after Brexit, Theresa May has declared.
In a stark warning to Brussels, the Prime Minister claimed that treating Britain the same as any other non-EU country after 29 March next year would be a mistake.
Britain is currently able to share information on criminals and terror threats in real time with its EU counterparts.
But so far, EU negotiators have insisted that after Brexit, the UK will become a so-called "third country", meaning its access to European security databases will be restricted.
Directly addressing the leaders of the other 27 EU member states over dinner at a summit in Brussels, Mrs May called on them to break the deadlock and allow a deal to be struck which does not weaken the current security structures.
She said: "The existing legal framework for third countries will not allow us to realise the ambitious future security partnership that I believe is in all our interests.
"We would no longer be able to share real-time alerts for wanted persons including serious criminals. We would be able to respond less swiftly to alerts for missing people from either side of the Channel and reunite them with their loved ones.
"Our collective ability to map terrorist networks across Europe and bring those responsible to justice would be reduced. That is not what I want and I do not believe it is what you want either.
"So when you meet as 27 I would urge you to consider what is in the best interests of your citizens and mine and give your negotiators a mandate that will allow us to achieve this crucial objective."
The Prime Minister's comments came after EU leaders condemned the lack of progress so far in the Brexit negotiations.
Arriving at the summit on Thursday, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "We did expect that we would make more progress - or any progress, really.
"We expected there would be progress at this summit in June, like there was in March and December. And there hasn’t been. So I will be saying to Prime Minister May we all need to intensify our efforts now. All of us want there to be a deal. We need a deal. Europe needs a deal, Britain needs a deal too."