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British and European Union negotiators have only a few months left to prevent a train wreck in European security when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019, and they’ve barely even begun discussing the challenge.
This Friends of Europe study, authored by Paul Taylor, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe, POLITICO columnist and for many years Reuters EU Affairs editor, highlights the risks of a breakdown in practical cooperation on crime-fighting and counter-terrorism on the day after Brexit, and of serious longer-term damage to British and European defence industries. It sets out the stark policy choices British and EU leaders will have to make to optimise Britain’s defence and security role in Europe to mutual advantage despite the rupture of Brexit.
The study is complemented by a Friends of Europe survey of 300 security and defence stakeholders in the UK and Europe which shows that: fighting terrorism at home and abroad and cyber threats are seen as the biggest security challenges, ahead of irregular migration, risks linked to climate change and growing Russian and Chinese power; France is almost on par with the United States as the UK’s primary strategic partner; and the majority of respondents favour joint European armaments procurement over joint NATO procurement.
The study’s five chapters include:
- Lonelier islands - The UK after Brexit
- Thin red lines - The political constraints
- Soldiering on - The UK armed forces
- Collateral damage - The defence industries
- Making the best of it - Conclusions and recommendations