The EU's plans for post-Brexit intelligence sharing will help nobody
Perhaps the most overlooked, yet also most overblown aspect of Brexit during the initial campaigns on both sides, was national security. Of course, Project Fear had a production line of shock-inducing headlines about the undoubted certainty of World War 3 if we voted Leave, but beyond this, little-to-no genuine information was provided nor assessment done on how Brexit would affect our national security. It now seems, however, that there was a reason: nobody knew. Nobody knew because to leave the EU enters new territory, enabling Michel Barnier and his cronies to, like in a children’s playground game, make up the rules as they go along.
And we expected this. Perhaps not to the extent that we have witnessed, however, with every single EU negotiation to date being a disaster, from Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly leaving a dinner with Theresa May 'ten times more sceptical' to Barnier dubiously parroting that there are 'substantial' disagreements between the EU and the UK. In the Brexit talks, the EU have been arrogant, obtuse and stubborn, but until this week’s European summit in Brussels, they had not been immoral. This changed on Thursday, when the EU started using access to fundamental intelligence as a chip in their Brexit game, posing an immense threat to the national security of the UK as well as the EU itself.
Barnier’s ruthlessness has even upset officials from other EU member states, Dan Falvey reported in February. Yet, one wonders why they, like sheepish children, continue to stand by the bully during negotiations, only speaking up after the damage is done. Thursday saw EU officials display absolute stubbornness on their position that the UK should not have access to European terrorist watch lists post-Brexit. Not only does this indicate to potential terrorists that in the future the UK could be an easier target, drawing incentive, but withholding access has no true benefit to the EU when Brexit eventually goes ahead. In fact, it could even hurt the remaining members, as they conversely lose access to the invaluable information gathered by SIS and the Security Service (not to mention the information the UK receives through 'Five Eyes'); therefore, this decision is made solely out of spite.
This aligns with similar decisions made on the remainder of the Schengen information system, which include vital databases on criminals and missing people, as well as potential terrorists. The EU cannot continue to risk the national security of the UK, especially considering the next summit in October should see a final decision on Brexit—to take such a headstrong stance on matters as crucial as national security in the penultimate summit is beyond irresponsible.
At the tail end of 2017, Jacob Rees-Mogg brilliantly described Juncker as a 'pound shop Bismarck, arrogant and bullying but without the charm'; this is evident now more than ever, and it is not only Juncker but also Barnier, whose posturing and tact makes clear that he is far more concerned with making an example of the UK than addressing the problems that caused Brexit in the first place.
If Barnier continues such puerility, May has no option but to counter it and be even more so of a 'bloody difficult woman'. Along with fully leaving the single market, maintaining a high level of national security is perhaps the most important element of the Brexit deal. This is not evident in mass media, however, who seem to treat it with second-rate importance. This must not be the case in the final summit, where, if national security is treated with the present level of offhandedness, the UK could be in grave danger.