PM in Munich: A speech for two audiences

It should be an easy hit for the former Home Secretary – the UK Is the second biggest contributor to NATO; GCHQ is one of the world’s foremost signal intelligence agencies and MI6 has a global network that is rivalled by few.

The UK’s counter-terror apparatus is of huge benefit to Europe – the security advantages are too important for EU countries to lose.

It works both ways, mind. Britain benefits from the sharing of data connected to known criminals or terrorists in Europe.

PM in Munich: A speech for two audiences
PM in Munich: A speech for two audiences

On Friday, the Heads of MI6, France’s DGSE and Germany’s BND came together to call for an agreement that will allow this exchange of information to continue post-Brexit. Largely speaking, everyone’s on the same side here.

But this was a speech for two audiences – the lofty collection of world leaders in the hall itself, and her party back home in Britain.

At home lies a potential hurdle. Her pledge to “respect” the rules of the European Court of Justice won’t go down well with Brexiteers.

If May wants Britain to remain a within Europol or a stay part of the European Arrest Warrant, then it’s hard to see how she can negotiate that and not be in some part under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

That’s a battle she’ll have to win another day.

Today, May’s speech did nothing to win Europe round to Brexit. It did little to convince the international sceptics that Britain isn’t in retreat. But it did get a gentle nod of approval from Brussels.

She’ll take that.

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