The idea that we can use security co-operation as a bargaining chip with the EU is implausibleby Arthur Snell / March 31, 2017 / Leave a comment
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. The same goes for threats: Theresa May’s Article 50 letter appears to link Britain’s desire for a generous post-Brexit trade deal with the possibility that it might withdraw high security co-operation. This has been seen as a threat by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, by the European Parliament’s chief negotiator, by senior European politicians and by recently retired Whitehall Mandarins. To Home Secretary Amber Rudd it was crystal clear: “There are two separate items here, one is on the economy, the other is on security.” Then she admitted: “it’s the same paragraph but it’s not in the same sentence.” Her attempts to reassure were undermined when she announced, “we are the largest contributor to Europol, so if we left Europol then we would take our information.”
A reasonable assumption must be that this was meant as a threat—even if the reaction to it had not been adequately considered by government. Like any threat, it can only have an impact if the chances of its being implemented are plausible. Here it fails immediately for two reasons: ethical and practical.