In addition to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice as well as Foreign Policy, Security and Defence, there are a number of wider security issues that are best addressed as part of the Future Security Partnership.
The UK’s 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review prioritised the increasing threat posed by terrorism, extremism and instability, as well as the impact of technology, especially cyber threats, as two of the four biggest challenges facing UK security. Illegal migration was highlighted as a global challenge and the growing risks to health security were identified as the world becornes more physically interconnected through travel. The 2018 National Security Capability Review added civil emergencies and resilience as a priority and underlined that the UK’s ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to risks is enhanced by our ability to share data and expertise, exchange information and collaborate closely with our nearest neighbours in the EU.
The EU’s 2016 Global Strategy highlights the need to strengthen the internal and external security dimensions of the EU’s policies and tools to address a very similar set of challenges that threaten the security of citizens within Europe and beyond.
The UK believes that there are areas where we share a mutual interest in continued cooperation that are an important part of the UK’s ability to support European security both now and in the future.
Asylum and illegal migration
Properly managed migration brings benefits to source and destination countries. However, high levels of illegal migration present a global challenge – one which enables organised crime, people trafficking and modern slavery to flourish; causing high levels of suffering and creating enormous pressure on host countries. A global response, underpinned by international cooperation, is key to tackling this.
Equally, it is vital that we establish a new, strategic relationship between the UK, EU and its Member states to address challenges specific to the region. Flows of illegal migrants reach Europe through North Africa and the Middle East, exacerbated by ongoing protracted conflicts, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, economic challenges and growing populations in Europe’s near neighbours.
ln Europe, significant progress has been made in addressing these challenges, and we believe that it is in our shared interests, the interests of third country partners, and of those seeking to migrate to continue to deliver a coherent, consistent and jolned up migration policy.
The UK has played a vital role in this. The UK contributes heavily to search and rescue operations through deploying border force cutters to the Mediterranean and Aegean. since May 2015, UK Naval and Border Force operations have rescued over 30,000 peopre in these regions as part of European Border and coast Guard Agency (Frontex led operations and Operation Sophia which aims to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks. The UK is also one of the largest contributors to the EU-Turkey Statement, which has seen EU partners work with Turkey to ensure the protection of over a million Syrian refugees, and reduce the number of people attempting to cross from Turkey to Greece by 95%.
The UK believes that future cooperation should be based on the following principles, as set out by the prime Minister in her UN General Assembly speech in 2016.
- Ensuring that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and supporting those first safe countries;
- lmproved ways to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants, so that proper protection can be given to refugees and preserve incentives for economic migrants can be reduced, in addition to limiting secondary movement and repeat asylum claims;
- Ensuring that countries have control of their own borders, minimising the perverse incentives and abuse of the system through the bypassing of legitimate controls.
The drivers of illegal migration are complex; our future relationship and response must be too. The UK proposes an approach that includes interventions at every stage of the migrant journey – taking a comprehensive, whole or route, approach. lt should have the following elements:
- Ongoing operational cooperation, for example working with European Border and Coast Guard Agency (known as Frontex) to strengthen Europe’s external border, and Europolto combat organised immigration crime;
- An agreement with the EU to ensure that illegal migrants who have a relationship with, or who have travelled through, the UK or an EU Member State can be returned to that country – and where relevant, have their protection claim considered there. New structures must prevent people from taking advantage by making claims in more than one country, and multiple occasions. A clear legal structure, facilitated by access to Eurodac or an equivalent system, will achieve this and ensure that no new incentives are created to make dangerous journeys across Europe;
- The UK also seeks to make new arrangements with the EU which will enable unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the EU to join close family members in the UK, and vice versa;
- The UK seeks to continue its strategic partnership with the EU to support work upstream through addressing drivers of illegal migration by investing in source and transit countries – providing economic and social opportunities in home regions to prevent the need for onward movements and to tackle organised crime. Dialogues between European and African partners, such as the Khartoum Process and Rabat Process, have created a forum to engage across all upstream issues.
The UK’s expertise in areas such as combating organised crime and dissuasive strategic communications have played a significant role in boosting the success of those efforts, and intend to be able to continue to do so after the UK leaves the EU. Likewise, the option to align and work together on potential future funding instruments that address the drivers of migration and the causes of dangerous journey’s would have a shared benefit in maximising that impact.
The cyber threat the UK and its European allies face from state actors and cyber criminals remains significant and knows no international boundaries.
The UK has played an important role in developing the EU’s Cyber Security Strategy and capabilities. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre continues to work with CERT-EU (the EU’s computer Emergency Response Team) to tackle cyber security incidents, and the close collaboration between the National Crime Agency and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre allows the UK and Member States to bring criminals to justice and combat cross border crime effectively. We are, and will be at the point of exit, fully aligned with the EU’s Network and lnformation Systems Directive.
We want to continue to play our part in collectively addressing cyber threats, and sharing threat information. Close collaboration between the UK and the Network and lnformation Security (NlS) Cooperation Group, Computer Security lncident Response Team (CSIRT) Network, and the European Union Agency for Network and lnformation Security (ENISA) should continue, in order to support our mutual cyber security and incident response capabilities. We should build on existing cooperation and identify opportunities to work together through a regular strategic dialogue.
The’NotPetya’ cyberattack, which indiscriminately affected network across Europe in 2017, demonstrates why we need to continue to work closely together to help protect the UK and EU from the common threat, through international coalitions that strengthen our voice, building cyber security capacity, and deterring hostile states interference. ln addition, we should continue working together internationally to promote and uphold the shared European vision of a “free, open, peaceful and secure global cyberspace” and our shared belief that existing international law is an essential foundation for achieving stability in cyberspace.
Counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism
The UK wants a new partnership with the EU on Counter Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism to support and complement the strong bilateral partnerships that the UK has with EU Member States.
Terrorism is international and does not recognise national borders: the UK-EU relationship needs to reflect the interconnectedness of our security, the threats we face due to our geographical proximity and shared interests. We can have greater impact countering these threats when we coordinate our approaches, and it is in our mutual interests to continue our close cooperation on issues such as preventing terrorist use of the internet, aviation and maritime security, violent extremism, foreign terrorist fighters, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats.
lt is vital that our new relationship is dynamic, adaptable and responsive to the ever-changing and increasingly complex terrorist threat. We will need a framework for dialogue on emerging threats, new capabilities and new opportunities, to identify where we can work together in our mutual interests, where working collectively can support and complement bilateral relationships. This should also allow a sharing of best practice and expertise on key issues and themes relevant to counter terrorism and countering violent extremism, and assessment sharing and cooperation through the appropriate intelligence analysis bodies.
Civil protection involves cooperation on shared threats including civil emergencies, major natural disasters and resilience cooperation and mechanisms covering health security and serious cross-border threats to health. Civil Protection in Europe is rightly the responsibility of nation states. Mutual cooperation between states and the EU is crucial. The UK has been, and remains, one of the most active countries in civil protection. We work closely with many other European countries and the EU. For example, between 2013 and 2017 the UK sent thousands of tonnes of assistance items and more than 1,200 experts for emergency responses, including in response to the increased movement of migrants across Europe.
The UK will continue to support both Member States and the EU in this important area. The UK believes our participation as a Third Country, in the Civil Protection Mechanism based on the principles established in EU legislation in 2013, would benefit the security of citizens across Europe. As well as providing health and humanitarian assistance to Sierra Leone in response to the 2014/15 Ebola outbreak, the UK has provided significant assistance through the CPM in response to other crises. ln response to the 2014 Nepal earthquake, the UK provided 100 search and rescue personnel and more than 200 tonnes of aid, and in 2014115 the UK provided nearly 700 tonnes of aid to European countries as part of the migrant crisis.
Diseases have no respect for borders. Over many years, the UK has worked closely with our EU partners to make sure that we have the systems and infrastructure in place to protect citizens within the UK, EU and beyond from all types of borderless health threats. These threats arise not only from infectious diseases but also from chemical, environmental and radiation hazards and can stem from natural sources, accidental releases or deliberate intent. A cross border, coordinated approach to these threats is universally beneficial in protecting the security, prosperity and public health of all citizens across the UK, Europe and globally.
The Ebola crisis in 2014 was a threat to people’s health worldwide. Britain, alongside other EU and international partners, stood on the front line of what was a truly global response. There is no doubt that British efforts, working closely with European Mobile Laboratory (EMLab), ECDC, WHO, was essential in bringing this devastating disease under control.
Collaborating to support third party nations, regions and institutions to develop and maintain adequate capacity to prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to established and emerging threats to local, regional and global health security, including infectious disease outbreaks and the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Tackling these shared threats is in both of our interests. We will want to continue to learn from each other, share information, intelligence and expertise and seek opportunities for joint training to make us more effective at tackling these shared threats. This includes:
continuing close collaboration with the Health Security Committee and bodies such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), including its associated alert systems, databases and networks, to coordinate our national responses to serious cross border threats to health, including chemical incidents, to identity new threats, and to monitor the spread of drug resistant infections;
ongoing cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) to enable both the UK and EU to work together combatting the harm caused by illicit drugs, including the prevalence of drug use, drug-related harm and health responses and monitoring the rapid emergence of new drugs and the specific threats they pose to drug users; and
collaboration with the European laboratory surveillance networks, to assess threats, monitor the spread of diseases across Europe as a whole, and take decisive joint action to protect the public, including those currently led by Public Health England on legionnaires’ disease, influenza and diphtheria.