Director of Europol Rob Wainwright said EU nations were concerned about losing British intelligence
Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, said a number of EU nations wanted some assurance “British expertise and leadership is not lost” after the country triggers Article 50 because “the UK is a very important partner in the security field”.
Following Brexit Mr Wainwright said the UK’s expertise in fighting terrorism, cybercrime, people smuggling and drug trafficking would remain highly valued by Europol.
Speaking to the Commons home affairs committee, he also urged Theresa May to make continued cooperation with EU countries on counter-terrorism a top priority when negotiations begin with member states.
Europol Director Rob Wainwright speaks at Global Counterterrorism Forum in January 2016
The UK is a very important partner in the security field
Director of Europol Rob Wainwright
Mr Wainwright told MPs Europol plans to still include Britain as a member of the EU’s law enforcement agency “in at least one form or another”.
The former MI5 intelligence analyst also believes Westminster will likely retain its intelligence sharing agreement with European nations.
His comments come after Tim Loughton, who is former acting chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, revealed to express.co.uk that our continental counterparts need us more than we need them.
He added: “Britain contributes more than any other nation to Europol so can we stop all this nonsense about Britain cutting itself off from information sharing.
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“We can have a bespoke relationship with Europol.”
Mr Wainwright has urged the Prime Minister to try to negotiate a way for Britain to maintain its membership of the European Arrest Warrant scheme.
According to Europol director the scheme has enabled the UK to eject more than 2,000 criminals – including terrorists, sex offenders and drug traffickers – since its inception in 2004.
He said: “That’s 2,000 criminals fast-tracked out of Britain, and if we lose that capability [the process is] unlikely to be nearly as effective, so we are dealing with a public security issue if Britain no longer has access to the European Arrest Warrant.”
He added: “I agree with the Prime Minister’s view that in the face of heightened security threats now is the time to come together and that fighting terrorism should be a top priority in the [Brexit] negotiations.”