Military, Police and Intelligence

Key Questions

Has the European Arrest Warrant become key to our security?

What is the best way to defend the EU from foreign and terrorist attacks?

Will the EU set up its own independent army?

Is our security tied to our membership of the EU?

Key facts

Military and security services

 The UK contributed £3.3 million to the European Defence Agency.

All members have to agree unanimously before any mission can be launched and so the EU’s military battle groups have never been deployed

The troops have been used on peace missions in the Balkans and against the Somalian pirates.


Europol is a base for the police of both EU and non-EU countries to work together

The Schengen Information is a database of people and stolen property in most of the EU.

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) resulted in 766 arrests in the 5 years to 2015

“Five eyes” (US/UK/Canada/NZ/ Australia) is the UK’s main security group worldwide.

The UK and France signed a bilateral declaration to combine defence and security and stewardship of nuclear stockpiles. It will not be affected by any vote on the EU

The NATO agreement is not affected by any vote on the EU


Vote Leave

Police and arrest


Europol brings together the police and other security organisations of all the countries to prevent serious cross-border crime and to exchange intelligence. It can ask EU members to start criminal investigations but cannot make arrests or conduct searches.

Why would we be excluded from Europol at such an unstable time if we exit?

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW)

The EAW speeds up and simplifies the process for returning a “criminal” to the country where the offence was committed by simply  filling in a form. Last year 138 people were returned to the UK using an EAW. There have been questions about some miscarriages of justice in a number of cases.

If it is an effective way to capture criminals why would any EU country want to cancel it? Even Mr Cameron expressed strong doubts in Parliament about the concept when it was first introduced.


European Parliament and security

Civitas on the EAW

European defence

Although we are committed, like all members, to assist any other member that is the target of aggression, this is hardly an extension of our commitments since 22 out of 28 EU countries are also members of NATO (excluding Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden).

The EU tries to have a common defence policy that includes a European battle force but its units have never been deployed, mainly because any mission has to be agreed by all 28 states which is virtually impossible. Therefore it is mainly a symbolic gathering of nations to show that they can cooperate in foreign policy which is why we have been critical about it from the start as we focus on NATO. However it has been on successful peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and in the fight against Somali pirates.

Part of this policy is the European Defence Agency to which we contribute £3.3 million.  It has been successfully bringing together the EU countries in developing equipment and technology.

Our withdrawal would not make much difference to the organisation but it could be seen as another crack in the ability of the EU to organise its own “back yard” which could encourage Putin and discourage the US on whom we depend in NATO.


International Defence Commitments

European Defence Agency

Fullfact on the European army


The UK and Germany have resisted a European intelligence agency on grounds of national sovereignty. Five Eyes is an alliance of the security services of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand that has not been expanded for decades and it caused embarrassment when it was found to be spying on Mrs Merkel at the same time as the Germans were spying on us!

It is difficult to understand how, in today’s world, any country would stop exchanging information because we leave the EU. They must be keen to cooperate and have access to our intelligence even if it means a new type of formal agreement.

Our intelligence services have a good record of working together with France where the common border is so important.


Vote Leave

Comments in media
Security"Counterterrorism is a team game, and the EU is the best framework available — no country can succeed on its own,"
Ex-heads of MI5 and MI6
"our forces would be stronger outside eu" General support Exit
“The geopolitical impact is set to reshape Europe’s political landscape as those citizens who feel, rationally or not, that their interests and cultural identity are threatened assert their influence,”
Dearlove's comments

“Britain risks losing its voice”  The 4 pillars of foreign policy are: Link with US; NATO; stability and prosperity in central Europe; rules-based multilateral order serves British interests.

The principles of the Exit team

The UK needs flexibility of being able to decide what to do.

The defence forces are a waste of money and add nothing to our capabilities

We should concentrate our efforts on NATO

France is a more natural ally than the EU

Why would intelligence and police cooperation cease?