(Bloomberg) -- This week’s terrorist attack on the U.K. highlights the need for Britain to maintain security ties with the European Union beyond its departure from the bloc, according to the official charged with overseeing Brexit for the Czech Republic.
“Perhaps this is one of the events, no matter how tragic it is, that shows that Brexit is an unfortunate thing,’’ Jan Kral, acting secretary of state for EU affairs, said in an interview in Prague. “Facing challenges like this one, terrorism, is always more efficient and more effective if we face those challenges together, united in a common framework.’’
Unless new relations are negotiated, the U.K. will fall out of many of the EU’s existing frameworks, including the European Arrest Warrant, when it leaves the bloc in two years. That risks undermining its efforts to combat attacks such as this week’s on Manchester which killed 22 people.
“I’m convinced if not by goodwill then by necessity we will be forced to cooperate even more closely,’’ said Kral. “No matter what our differences of opinion may be on issues like access to the internal market and the financial settlement, security is one of the areas that cannot be used as a bargaining chip by either side. This has not been questioned in London.’’
The U.K. is a member of Europol, which helps police fight crime across borders, and is a signatory to the European Arrest Warrant system, under which EU members transfer people sought by another. EU countries also share data on air passengers and information on suspects.
The ruling Conservative Party election manifesto last week said “we want to work together” with EU members “in the fight against crime and terrorism.”
Still, Britain would need to renegotiate a new form of cooperation for when it’s no longer an EU member and each side would have to impose safeguards on the sharing of data. British Prime Minster Theresa May was also criticized by European leaders when she warned in March that the U.K. may withdraw cooperation on security if she doesn’t get the free-trade deal she wants.
As for the overall Brexit talks, Kral said “we are waiting for our partner to sit at the table with us” and start building trust.
“Are we heading to a win-win situation as was presented by some of the advocates of Brexit or are we facing a different scenario?’’ he asked. “The prevailing interpretation is we’re heading to a lose-lose situation and the critical question for the Brexit talks is how we minimize the negative impacts.’’