Brexit Britain to be booted out of key policing agreements, says EU's top negotiator

Posted On: 
19th June 2018

Post-Brexit Britain will be shut out of key European Union crime-fighting measures unless there is "more realism" from the UK Government, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator has said.

Michel Barnier urged Britain to show "more realism about what is and what is not possible"

Speaking at a conference in Vienna, Michel Barnier made clear that Britain would not be able to take part in the European Arrest Warrant - which allows police to work across EU borders to apprehend suspects - and said UK officials would play no part in running joint agencies including Europol.

"It is particularly hard to speak about what will no longer be possible, but I have to speak the truth,” he said.

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"The UK decided to leave the EU, I regret profoundly the decision, but it is a democratic decision and we have to respect it. Now we are working towards an orderly withdrawal.

"If we want to build a new relationship, we need a basis of good will, a basis of confidence between us – but we also need more realism about what is and what is not possible."

Mr Barnier said that while the EU would continue to "cooperate strongly" with Britain on policing and justice after Brexit, the UK's insistence on leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice meant members states could not "continue cooperating with the UK without these safeguards".

"The UK is not ready to accept free movement of people, the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the Charter of Fundamental Rights," he said. "This means that the UK cannot take part in the European Arrest Warrant."

Mr Barnier's speech came as the EU's 27 member states set out their joint stance on security cooperation, making clear that while they want to see "streamlined" exchange of information between UK and European authorities after Brexit, there will be "no access" to the cross-border Europol policing agency's database once Britain leaves.

The bloc also said there would be "no participation" in Europol's management board, and warned that leaving the ECJ meant there was a "potential risk of lowering the standards of protection for individuals" subject to extradition.

The tough stance from the EU is likely to trigger a furious response from the UK side, however.

Earlier this month Home Secretary Sajid Javid warned Brussels it would be "wrong and reckless" to weaken security ties with Britain.

He added: "When the British people voted to leave the European Union, they were not voting for us to stop working with our European allies to keep everyone safe.

"So it would be wrong and reckless for anyone to advocate any unnecessary reduction in this cooperation."