Brexit: Britain should be ‘very worried’ about no deal with EU, ex-Europol chief warns | UK News
Britain should be “very worried” about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, a former head of Europol has warned.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News, Max-Peter Ratzel said he believed British national security was at risk, and urged leaders to come to an agreement on security co-operation even if there is no deal.
“I would be worried. I would be very worried. I’m worried as a European as we lose part of our competence, but I’d be even more worried if I was British,” he said.
“You lose more than we lose by nature – look at the size of the communities, look at the size of the data.
“If I was British, I would be very worried about whether the information flow would be as good as it was in the past.”
German Mr Ratzel led the EU’s law enforcement agency from 2005 to 2009. He was succeeded by the Welshman Sir Rob Wainwright.
He said: “My message to all the politicians would be – please be aware that there must be a good way out.
“Even if there is no deal try to make a deal especially for the co-operation in the areas of internal security and the justice system.
“Tell your people on the security side that they are obliged to do their utmost to keep the high standard of co-operation.”
Britain will automatically leave Europol on 1 January 2021 and even if an agreement is reached, “operational-partner status” is the best the UK could hope for.
This would put the UK on the same level as the likes of the United States, Norway and Australia, which means reduced access to vital data and lesser influence within the organisation.
The UK would also lose access to the Schengen Information System, a database that provides real-time alerts for police and border force on 35,000 people wanted under a European Arrest Warrant.
It also gives alerts on suspected foreign fighters, missing people, and people and objects of interest to EU security agencies.
“It’s very risky and very complicated. If we look at the future of co-operation within the security environment,” Mr Ratzel said.
“Now Great Britain has lost the institution of the European Union and by that Britain has also lost Europol.
“So if, in future, Great Britain will co-operate with Europol then there must be a co-operation agreement but then you are a so-called third-party partner.
“And by nature a third-partner is not a genuine partner,” he added.
Mr Ratzel also said that tensions in recent years had eroded trust on both sides.
“The process of the last year’s [Brexit negotiations] in dealings between Great Britain and the European Union has destroyed a lot of credibility and has increased the question of ‘how reliable is Great Britain?’
“Both partners, both the British side and the European side, must be interested in how to co-operate.
“There’s no doubt that there is a need to co-operate. Only if we share information do we get better in our co-operation framework, get better in our crime analysis and we can prevent crime happening not just investigated crimes that have happened.
“The European space will also in future be the European space for criminals.”
He added: “Even if you’re no longer part of the European Union, criminals will still travel from the continent to Great Britain and backwards.”
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