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Berlin Security Conference 2017: UK to lose European defence decision-making powers after Brexit

29 November 2017

The United Kingdom will lose many of the decision making powers it currently enjoys in the field European defence and security after the country leaves the European Union in March 2019, the union’s chief Brexit negotiator said on 29 November.

Although the United Kingdom will continue bilateral defence arrangements with EU member states after Brexit, as seen here with British and Polish tanks exercising in Poland, it will lose its current influence and power when it comes to Union-level policy planning. (Crown Copyright)Although the United Kingdom will continue bilateral defence arrangements with EU member states after Brexit, as seen here with British and Polish tanks exercising in Poland, it will lose its current influence and power when it comes to Union-level policy planning. (Crown Copyright)

Speaking at the Berlin Security Conference in the German capital, Michel Barnier said that from the date the UK government has said the country will leave the European Union, the country will no longer be involved in European decision-making in matters of defence and security, and that it will lose its ability to influence such decisions.

“After its exit from the Union, the United Kingdom will lose its decision-making powers at the European level, and some levers for wielding influence,” he said, adding that despite this the United Kingdom will remain important to Europe as a member of the UN Security Council and of NATO. “It will remain a diplomatic, nuclear, and military power,” he noted.

In terms of its post-Brexit decline in influence, Barnier said that the United Kingdom will no longer take part in meetings of EU defence ministers; there will be no UK ambassador sitting on the Political and Security Committee; the United Kingdom will no longer be a framework nation; will not be able to take command of EU-led operations or lead EU battlegroups; will no longer be a member of the European Defence Agency or Europol; will not be able to benefit from the European Defence Fund the same way as EU member states will; and will no longer be involved in decision making, nor in the planning of European defence and security instruments.

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