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Europol membership still on the table, Home Secretary insists


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But EU is yet to make any promises.


The Home Secretary is maintaining claims a “very good” security deal has been reached with the EU post-Brexit despite a draft paper published last month giving no such assurances.

The Prime Minister and Home Office officials have repeatedly stated the EU is keen to forge a close security partnership after Brexit.

Chiefs have been clear close co-operation on security and policing benefits the entire European Union and losing Europol membership would also threaten the safety of citizens on the other side of the Channel.

But EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier made it clear earlier this year Theresa May's "red lines" would mean it was impossible to remain in the European Arrest Warrant.

And Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement, published in November, gave no guaranteed access to crucial databases or confirmation agreements will continue after an initial transition period.

The 585-page document states the UK will only be able to use the vital Schengen Information System for a maximum of three months after the transition period and Europol’s SIENA platform for one year. Article 8 says the UK will cease “to be entitled to access any network, any information system and any database established on the basis of Union law”.

But this afternoon Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs at the House of Commons he is “sure we can reach an agreement”.

Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds asked: “When will the government actually act to stop this diminishing of our ability to tackle crime?"

He said: “Tackling online crime has to of course be cross border and yet the government has failed to get the Schengen Information System or SIS2 and European Criminal Record Information System included in their political declaration.

“It hasn’t identified exactly what our relationship with Europol or Eurojust is going to be going forward and we only have vague promises on the benefits of maintaining the European Arrest Warrant.”

Mr Javid responded: “The honourable gentleman will know from the information we’ve already published that we have reached a good agreement on future security cooperations so for example on things like passenger name records on DNA and other important databases.

“That is something we will continue to work together on.”

He went further when MP David Hanson demanded: “Are we to be members of Europol in this brave new world or simply shadowing and incorporating with them?”

Mr Javid hinted full-blown Europol membership is still on the cards.  

He said: “We have an agreement with the EU. A draft agreement that gives us a very close relationship with the EU on security and cooperation and it includes considering membership of Europol.”  

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