Political experts contribute to Lords report on UK’s security role in Europe post-Brexit

Three University political experts have contributed to a report to the House of Lords that warns the United Kingdom could lose influence on security and defence operations post-Brexit.

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee’s report, Brexit: Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations makes several references to the evidence submitted by Dr Nadine Ansorg, Dr Toni Haastrup and Professor Richard Whitman of the Global Europe Centre in the School of Politics and International Relations.

The report’s findings draw on the analysis provided by the Kent experts, which presented three options for collaboration between the UK and the EU in CSDP missions after Brexit:

  • Firstly, an integrated approach where the UK would remain outside the EU but inside the CSDP;
  • secondly, an associated approach, where the UK would remain outside the EU’s structures of military planning but may decide to participate in aspects of implementation;
  • lastly, the detached model, where the UK remains politically and organisationally separated from the CSDP.

However, the Kent political experts suggest that during the Transition/Adjustment period the UK and EU interests may be best served by continuity and with the UK continuing its participation in the existing CSDP.

This report recommends that to maintain engagement with the EU on wider security and defence the government should develop and submit detailed proposals for future CSDP co-operation before the June 2018 European Council meeting to the EU27.

CSDP missions have been an important channel of UK influence – from tackling piracy and promoting the rule of law to peacebuilding in post-conflict states. The UK has influenced the development and planning of these civilian and military operations and is also integral to the EU’s flagship anti-piracy operation, EU NAVFOR Somalia (Operation Atalanta), providing assets such as naval vessels and aircraft.  Furthermore, the Operational Headquarters of this operation is based in Northwood, the UK’s principal military headquarters.

The report concludes that the UK may be able to continue in participating in CSDP missions and operations post-Brexit, but it will not have the influence it currently enjoys in the development, planning and leadership of missions and operations.