Brexit: A disaster for Europe’s security

Europe’s persistence to punish the UK for leaving EU by not offering a fair Brexit deal is extreme short-sightedness and neglects Britain’s indispensability for Europe’s security and EU’s international clout.

EU’s external security is facing the twin challenges of Russia’s growing interference in eastern Europe and the unreliability of Trump’s support. Britain’s military capability including nuclear deterrent, the biggest defence budget in the EU and a permanent seat on the UN security council provided much-needed heft to Europe’s hard power.


 In an op-ed, foreign ministers of Poland, Romania and Lithuania admitted that without Britain, Europe will be

more vulnerable to external threats. As with trade, so with security: distance matters.


Furthermore, Britain has been providing strategic support, personnel, intelligence and equipment for EU’s civil and military operations and has acted as a broker between EU and

NATO. This ensured convergence in the policy and the strategy of the two groups. As a consequence of Brexit, Britain may give more importance to NATO leaving the EU with

reduced leverage. 


Intelligence and surveillance are the bedrock of any counter-terrorism strategy and Britain’s support has been invaluable for the internal security of Europe. 

Britain provides intelligence to the EU through its membership of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance and has been the largest contributor to the Europol, EU’s continent-wide law enforcement agency. 


The ‘Five Eyes’ global intelligence coverage cannot be matched by any individual or combination of

EU states and a hard Brexit would create a gaping hole in European security.


Also, an imminent threat to the EU’s internal security is the influx of illegal immigrants from

war-torn Islamic countries like Syria and Libya. In November 2015, Paris attacks which killed 130, 2 of the attackers were illegal immigrants. 


A migrant from Tunisia attacked the Berlin Christmas market in 2016 killing 12. Britain’s efforts to stop migration by working with countries like Libya, which are launchpads for illegal migrants entering Europe might just stop after an unfair Brexit deal.


Losing Britain’s support in the weak world order, growing Russian interference in eastern Europe and unpredictability of American support leaves EU more exposed than ever.


Britain’s military capacity, intelligence infrastructure and a wide-reaching foreign policy is essential for protecting Europe from internal and external threats.

Author- Arpit Srivastava. He can be reached at

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