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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

Security costs to EU from Brexit can be used as bargaining chips in negotiations

The UK government should use the security costs to the EU that would result from Brexit as important ‘bargaining chips’ in Brexit negotiations, actively making linkages between security and other issues such as trade.

This is what security expert Prof Philip Davies argues in a policy report on Brexit released by Britain in Europe on 25 October 2016 (the 'security' section can be downloaded directly from here).

Prof Davies' analysis echoes news published today in the Guardian which indicate that Berlin is concerned that Britain could use its intelligence-gathering capability as a bargaining chip in talks to leave EU.

Prof Davies finds in the report that Brexit is largely irrelevant to both defence and intelligence because the UK’s defence and foreign intelligence postures are primarily geared towards commitments and coalitions outside the EU, e.g. NATO and the Anglo-American ‘5 Eyes’ intelligence ‘special relationship’.

Because of close cooperation with EU partners and institutions on law enforcement and counter-terrorism, however, domestic security is a more mixed set of trade-offs between cooperation and independence.

The main medium to long term security threat to the UK would be reduced public funds for security in the event of sustained Brexit-driven economic contraction, and increased risk from exposure to aggressive conduct by major powers in the European/Eurasian and Asia-Pacific regions such as Russia and China.

By contrast, a ‘hard Brexit’ will do more damage to the EU’s defence, intelligence and internal security arrangements than to the UK. This means there is scope for the UK to use the security costs to the EU as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.

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