Theresa May has urged security cooperation by European Union partners to continue in the aftermath of Brexit, on the second day of the annual Munich Security Conference.
The 54th international conference brings together government representatives and defence and security experts from across the globe.
“The UK is just as committed to Europe’s security in the future as we have been in the past,” May said in her keynote speech on Saturday.
“This cannot be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our cooperation and jeopardise the security of our citizens.”
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Munich, said that May’s focus on security collaboration between European cohorts and the UK is a significant issue to her government, as the UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019.
“Theresa May was trying to say that the security arrangements are the best thing that could happen both for the UK and for Europe in terms of military cooperation, security cooperation, intelligence gathering, arrest warrants, against a backdrop of a world where groups like ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] have been staging attacks killing people in different parts of Europe.”
However, May’s speech received a lukewarm response from the rest of the conference’s attendees, whose first reaction was, according to our correspondent, “You could have made a better world to live in had you chosen to stay within the EU.”
Furthermore, European officials have previously accused May of wanting the best of both worlds for Brexit.
“EU officials have been saying that the British government cannot just cherry-pick different aspects of the deal they would like in the near future,” Al Jazeera’s Ahelbarra said.
“For the EU, this is something different, it’s a broader package that needs to be negotiated.”
On June 23, 2016, Britain voted in favour of Brexit, with the Leave campaign receiving 52 percent in a referendum.
May pledged to protect EU citizens’ rights in Britain after Brexit, saying that decisions by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) would be taken into account by UK courts.
However, the British government remains divided on other issues such as trade, where Al Jazeera’s Ahelbarra said, “some [are] saying that let’s take some aspects of the deal and stay within the single market, while others are saying that the UK has to redefine new policies in the near future when it officially exits from the union.”