We Can't Base Security Relationship Just on Trust, EU Tells U.K.

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union won’t allow future security cooperation with the U.K. to be based on trust alone, according to the latest document from the bloc’s Brexit negotiators, as they warned that Britain’s plan risks undermining European police and justice systems.

Both sides say they want a strong relationship in the field of counter-terrorism and international crime-fighting after the U.K. leaves the EU next March, but they can’t agree on what that should look like. It’s the latest issue in the Brexit talks that has prompted European officials to complain that the U.K. seems to want the benefits of membership of a club it is intent on getting out of.

In a presentation to diplomats from the remaining 27 countries on June 15, the European Commission said the U.K.’s rejection of oversight by the European Court of Justice, as well as its desire to have different safeguards on data protection and fundamental human rights, meant that there would be an “asymmetry of rights and obligations” if the British plan came into effect. That risks the integrity of the EU’s justice and home-affairs rules and the good functioning of its border-free Schengen area, which the U.K. has never joined,the commission said.

The U.K. wants to remain in a series of EU security systems, including the European Arrest Warrant, which enables easy extradition between member states of suspected criminals, centralized criminal-records checks and a database for alerting authorities to the movements of people suspected of serious crime.

Guillotine Clauses

For the EU, the worry is that Britain wants to remain in the main elements of its security network simply “based on mutual trust,” according to the presentation. “There is no presumption of mutual trust outside of the EU institutional framework underpinned by common principles,” which includes European court jurisdiction, the document says.

The EU is insisting on so-called guillotine clauses, the document says, that would nullify any cooperation agreement if the U.K. leaves the European Convention of Human Rights, or falls foul of an ECHR ruling or the if the European Court of Human Rights declares that British data-protection standards aren’t valid.

The two sides will continue negotiating over the next few months with the aim of completing the basis of a future relationship in October.

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