British intelligence on terrorists and other serious criminals should be removed from EU systems if Brexit trade talks fail, a former EU security commissioner has warned.
Sir Julian King, who was the last UK commissioner in Brussels until last year, said that in terms of security “the difference between a deal and no deal is significant” and the impact negative would be felt immediately.
” UK [intelligence] data held in EU systems could – in fact be – deleted, if there was no data adequacy arrangement covering the way you share data, ‘said the former British diplomat at a briefing hosted by the Royal United Services Institute.
The UK would be instantly disconnected from a range of databases and systems such as the European Criminal Records Information Services, which share data on previous convictions across all EU countries, a- he added.
Warnings over the loss of direct UK access to EU security databases in the event of no deal have been issued previously, but King’s remarks on deletion pose little-discussed risk . This would have an “immediate impact” in the fight against terrorism and serious crime across Europe, he said.
Brexit negotiations have entered a critical phase with UK and EU negotiators currently determining whether they can enter the ‘tunnel’ – the final, critical phase of high-level negotiations, which are taking place in absolute secrecy.
The two sides hope to reach a final deal before the EU Council in mid-October, for a deal that would spell out what the UK’s trade relationship with the bloc of 27 countries would be like at the end of the period. transition at the end of the year. .
Sir John Scarlett, former head of MI6, said data sharing between the UK and the EU and its member states had grown significantly in recent years and was essential in tackling terrorism and the drug traffic.
The former spy chief said that “after the Bataclan attacks in Paris in 2015”, sharing intelligence on the attackers and their leader was essential for investigators struggling to gather information on the planning of the attack. the attack.
Investigators in the UK and across Europe were to track “personal movements, crossing borders, knowing where people are at all times” and “financial movements at the same time,” Scarlett added.
“The extremist jihadist threat is absolutely still there,” Scarlett said. “Last year there were 21 terrorist-related attacks in the EU, three of which were successful.” One was the knife attack at Fishmonger’s Hall in London Bridge, where two people who had attended a conference on prison rehabilitation were killed.
Britain would also not have negotiated a replacement for the European arrest warrant in the event of a no-deal, Scarlett warned. “Operationally, it really matters… the ability to arrest serious criminal suspects in the UK, or elsewhere in the EU,” said the MI6 boss.
King said he believes the prospects for a security deal – which are not generally seen as a controversial subject – are inextricably linked to the global negotiations, where there are sticking points over state aid. and cargo controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “This is not an area where they [the EU] are considering separate arrangements, ”King said.