It’s strange the path Theresa May has taken. During the UK referendum, that took place more than 500 days ago, she argued for staying in the European Union by making Security one of the reasons for doing so. Now, as Prime Minister she has flipped and is unmoving in her pursuit of Brexit. But on the platform at a major Security conference in Germany #MSC2018, she chooses agreements that are persuasive against Brexit.
It truly is a topsy-turvy world. Whilst EU Member States move towards a permanent structured cooperation in #EUdefence, Theresa May opts to try to both Leave and Remain at the same time.
She keeps repeating arguments in favour of cherry picking that she must know go down like a lead balloon in Europe. If Brexit happens, the future UK-EU relationship will be one where the UK is deemed a “third country”. Now, it maybe that the EU will try to resolve security issues separately from Brexit. Nevertheless, there’s no better deal than the one the UK has inside the EU today.
If ideology is getting in the way, there’s no doubt that its on both sides of the UK-EU negotiations. Theresa May was not speaking to the raucous galleries of the House of Commons where there are too many zealots, here she was talking to Nation States. It’s no good accusing the EU of lack of will for pragmatic cooperation when the red lines have been tabled by the UK.
When talking about a new Treaty, she says: “It must be respectful of the sovereignty of both the UK and the EU’s legal orders. So, for example, when participating in EU Agencies the UK will respect the remit of the European Court of Justice.” This does seem to throw aside one red line and is pragmatic and the most positive line in the whole speech.
It truly is a topsy-turvy world. One thing is clear, if Brexit happens, or not, a security partnership in Europe is not an option it’s an absolute necessity. Grandstanding at the Munich Security Conference doesn’t much help. Cooperation is essential to tackle such challenges as cyber-attacks.
I agree with Theresa May when she says: “Europe’s security is our security.” The UK’s foreign policy will be defined by the common interests it has with the EU. The best possible future would be one where the UK remains in the EU, working with our partners for the security of us all.