Friends of Europe launched a shock new report this morning which said both the UK and the EU need to make concessions and abandon red lines in order to protect those living across Europe.
Report author and former journalist Paul Taylor warned a breakdown in coordination between UK and EU security could increase “the danger on the streets” after Brexit during the report launch in central London.
Referencing this week’s security warning from Michel Barnier and the subsequent backlash from GCHQ, he said: “I think we are heading towards a potential trainwreck.”
Mr Taylor said of particular concern was the potential breakdown in UK-EU coordination in Europol, European Arrest Warrant, and a lack of criminal database access for anti-terror police in Britain.
This, he warned, could lead to “a lot of bad guys washing up in London” and using the UK as a safe haven from extradition.
He said: “Britain could become something of a pirate island where it is hard to extradite. There are some of these places, try extraditing someone out of Israel.”
Brussels as well as Westminster needed to abandon its red lines in order to protect citizens across the continent.
The UK, he said, needed to reconsider its refusal to accept the European Court of Justice, while the EU needed to temper its absolutist approach to rules and regulations.
He said: “Leaving the European Union seems to be a bit like joining the European Union – it must be on the EU’s terms.”
The report itself, entitled ‘Safer Together – the United Kingdom and the Future of European Security and Defence’, said: “Brexit is not the end of the world.”
It said both the UK and EU would suffer but efforts could be made to make sure the safety of its citizens was not compromised.
The report said: “Properly managed, Brexit could cause minimal disruption to collaboration on internal security and crime fighting, while freeing up the EU to pursue its own defence capability building with Britain as a strong external partner instead of an eternal foot on the brakes.
“As one EU official observed, Brexit might even have done Europe a favour if it pushes the union to look at the world more strategically.”
It warned such a positive outcome “is by no means guaranteed” – especially if Theresa May is ousted by Tory rivals or by Labour in the next election.
This, the report said, could see hardline Brexiteers “strike a more confrontational attitude towards the EU” or Jeremy Corbyn coordinating a “more inwardly focused” approach.
The report said regardless of the specifics, the UK will nonetheless end up worse off after Brexit.
It said: “As it takes the fateful steps of withdrawing from the union, its leaders carry a heavy responsibility not to repeat the errors of the past but to remain fully engaged in the security and defence of Europe, and to work with the European Union to that end
“Close bilateral partnerships with France and Germany and practical cooperation with the EU can limit but not erase the damage of Brexit.”
It comes after EU heavyweights Michel Barnier and Guy Verhoftadt warned the UK’s security would suffer after Brexit.
They said the UK would not be able to remain members of the European Arrest Warrant but suggested a replica with similar “flexibility” could be negotiated.