Britain's Theresa May calls for security treaty with EU by end 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she was unconditionally committed to European security.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she was unconditionally committed to European security.PHOTO: REUTERS

MUNICH (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday (Feb 17) called for a new security treaty with the European Union that should be up and running next year to ensure military, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation after London leaves the bloc.

"The key aspects of our future partnership in this area will already be effective from 2019," Ms May told top European and US officials at the Munich Security Conference.

"The partnership that we need to create is one that offers UK and EU way to combine our efforts to greatest effect where this is in our shared interest," Ms May said.

She warned the EU of "damaging real-world consequences" if qualms over the institutional arrangements Britain will have with the EU after it leaves the bloc undermine co-operation on security matters.

"We must do whatever is most practical and pragmatic in ensuring our collective security," she said.

"This cannot be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our co-operation and jeopardise the security of our citizens."

Britain has said that leaving the EU means that European courts should no longer have jurisdiction in Britain. Ms May said this should not make it harder to extradite terrorists or share information.

Britain's interior minister last year warned the EU it could "take our information with us" if it left the bloc without a deal on security matters, jeopardising its membership of agencies such as Europol.

Ms May also ruled out a second vote on the country's membership of the European Union, saying there was no going back on the result of the June 2016 vote.

"We are leaving the EU and there is no question of a second referendum or going back and I think that's important," she said.

"People in the UK feel very strongly that if we take a decision, then governments should turn not round and say no you got that wrong," she said when asked if Britain would consider a second referendum. REUTERS