EUROPE & CENTRAL ASIARise to Peace blog

Brexit no-deal and Transnational Security

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Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags opposite the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A no-deal Brexit is looming. And it is becoming clear that it would hamper counterterror efforts in the UK and Europe. As an EU member, the UK is party to European institutions like European Arrest Warrant, a system of warrants valid throughout the European Union, and Europol, the EU-wide law-enforcement body that combats terror and organized crime. The UK also receives vast additional sensitive data including fingerprints, DNA, and passenger flight information. Should it leave the EU without a deal establishing a continued partnership on such initiatives, it will lose access to European intelligence. This will risk it becoming blind to terror threats within its own borders.

This will adversely impact Europe as well. For every suspect arrested on a European Arrest Warrant, British authorities arrest eight EAW suspects from other states. In other words, the benefit to European countries from British forces is huge. Given the extensive travel between Europe and the UK, it is critical that the two cooperate on intelligence. No criminal may be permitted to pass between borders unnoticed. Should this cooperation end, it is likely dangerous individuals will cross the border, and then slip through the bureaucratic cracks.

If no deal codifies the partnership between British and European law enforcement, then both the EU and the UK are in risky positions. The EU must vouchsafe the UK’s continued access to European intelligence. Both parties must avoid a no-deal Brexit to keep the UK from turning into a de facto European criminal safe haven. 

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