Barnier admits regret over Brexit negotiations as ‘one important aspect’ missing from deal

Brexit: Barnier discusses what is ‘missing’ from UK relationship

The European Union’s chief negotiator admitted that there is one thing missing from the Brexit deal with the UK. Michel Barnier said a whole chapter on foreign policy was not discussed. He told France 24: “According to the mandate that the European leaders, the 27 heads of state and government and the European Parliament, had given me, we have done almost all of what was requested.

“There is one thing that is missing in this partnership with the United Kingdom because the British did not want it.

“That is the chapter on foreign policy – defense, cooperation with developing countries, Africa in particular.

“They didn’t want to discuss this early on. I regret this.

“I didn’t understand it because it was sitting separate from commerce or homeland security, but it was important.”

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It comes as police chiefs have expressed confidence in the UK’s security agreement under Brexit, despite losing access to a European criminal database.

Senior figures at the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) told peers a “good deal” was in place after the end of the transition period, which largely mirrored existing arrangements, and at this stage they do not think it has left “gaps” in their ability to fight crime.

Earlier this month Government officials insisted the UK was not missing out on intelligence about wanted criminals after losing access to the European Union’s Schengen Information System II (SIS II) database of alerts about people and stolen items such as guns and cars, which it has been using since 2015.

As a result, some 40,000 alerts on dangerous criminals and wanted suspects had to be deleted at the end of December when the country left the EU.

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British negotiators had sought to maintain access to the system as part of a deal, following concerns raised by police chiefs, but the EU said it was legally impossible to offer access to any country not in the Schengen area, including the UK.

Instead, police and other law enforcement bodies are relying on receiving the same information through Interpol red notices – which, unlike SIS II, is not automated so entries must be uploaded manually once officers decide whether the information warrants being circulated.

Speaking to the Lords EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee, Steve Rodhouse, director-general of operations at the NCA, said: “We think (it is) a good deal in terms of being able to maintain the tools and the tactics that we have enjoyed whilst members of the EU.

“It does largely replicate the tools and powers that we’ve had.”


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At the time the Brexit deal was announced, Brussels said the UK would no longer have “direct, real-time access” to sensitive information.

Officials have said the arrangements will provide frontline officers with the tools they need to continue catching criminals.

Previously, Mr Rodhouse expressed concerns about the loss of access to SIS II, telling MPs that officers would instead be “reliant” on EU member states sharing information through Interpol, and warning there would be a “gap” if they did not.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said: “From an NCA point of view, we would have wanted to retain capability of the SIS but the EU were clear there was no legal basis for that.”

While there is not thought to be a “significant loss of capability”, there may be “some risks”, he added, saying although there is a “degree of delay” in receiving access to Interpol notices once they are put into the system, the process is “still quite swift”.

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