May urges EU for post-Brexit security partnership deal

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

MUNICH: The security and lives of people would be put at risk if the EU blocks a treaty with the U.K. after Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday.

Speaking at a global security conference in Munich, Germany, May said the U.K. would like to see a post-Brexit security agreement with the EU, which would allow Britain to act alongside in response to global events, to deploy British assets on EU missions abroad and to contribute to EU aid programs.

She said the U.K. will become “a European country outside the EU but in a new partnership with it”.

“There is no legal or operational reason why an agreement could not be reached on internal security,” she added.

Underlining that the U.K. has “shared the pain and heartbreak” of terror attacks in Europe, May said it has been nearly a year since the Westminster terror attack.

“These people don’t care if they maim Parisians, Berliners or Londoners,” she said.

“When these atrocities occur, people look to us as leaders to provide the response. We must ensure nothing prevents us from fulfilling our first duty as leaders to protect our citizens.”

“Europe’s security is our security… the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it,” May said.

As the Brexit negotiations continue to shape the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU, Britain faces a post-Brexit exclusion from some of the EU security operations such as European arrest warrant and access to European police database that holds information about crime and terrorism.

“We must now move with urgency to implement a treaty by the end of 2019,” May added, urging to be “ambitious” about the deal.

Speaking later in the conference, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, reacted to May’s speech.

“I do not want to mix up security policy considerations with other considerations,” he said. The post-Brexit security arrangements are still to be agreed between the U.K. and the EU in part of ongoing Brexit negotiations.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU in March 2019. (AA)