United Kingdom is likely to leave the European Union police agency Europol, interior minister Amber Rudd said during a conference on Wednesday. Rudd added that if Britain decides to leave, it will bring all of its sensitive intelligence with it.
Rudd reported that she once again failed to reach an agreement over security strategies with her European colleagues and warned that the lack of coordination between Europol members could have dire consequences on the whole continent. However, she added that a deal was made that “security is not an issue that was going to be traded” and that “Britain will continue to to strike agreements which could provide the same security benefits that both sides enjoyed so far”.
“What we need is a relationship with Europol that allows us equal access”, Rudd told during an interview for SkyNews. “We need to have an agreement with Europol to make sure that we continue to contribute and resolve problems together”.
Britain has been one of the three top users of data gathered by Europol. However, British officials and intelligence analysts believe that their European colleagues should share more information with them. They state that European agency benefit both from Europol and from British participation in the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing contract which was signed by United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
“We are the largest contributor to Europol and therefore, we would like if our European colleagues would learn to share more information with us. Otherwise, we might as well leave Europol and take all of our information with us”, Rudd said during a press conference.
However, not all British intelligence experts agree with her. In fact, several security officials and police chiefs warned about the dangers of leaving Europol. Lynne Owens, the Director General of Britain’s National Crime Agency explains: “In bluntest form, we must be able to continue to exchange intelligence and we must be able to understand the movement of criminals across international borders. Otherwise, we risk getting left in the dark”.
Claude Moraes, the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Liberty, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, agrees, warning that counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism mechanisms only work if countries and agencies share information on a daily basis. “The problem is that security is multidimensional system, requiring countries to work together in order to preserve stability”.
Some security analysts warn that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and increase its independence from the rest of the continent has gone too far. Several high-ranked British officials and politicians have objected Rudd’s idea, stating that “we don’t have to be a part of the EU, but that doesn’t mean that we should go to the extreme and sever all connections and ties to the rest of the continent”.