Brussels sources said the UK’s chances of remaining part of EU-data sharing arrangements were handed a boost after the Government agreed to share more information with the bloc. EU officials have previously accused Britain of withholding data because of the Government’s policy of sharing DNA data of convicted criminals but not of criminal suspects. EU countries complained that the UK benefits from cross-border data sharing arrangements while not fully participating in the scheme.
But security minister James Brokenshire last week said Britain was prepared to expand its information sharing with the bloc.
He said the EU’s Prum database of DNA, vehicle licence plates and fingerprints information had been invaluable in the fight against serious crime.
“An unidentified crime strain from a sexual assault in Glasgow in 2012 was identified as a subject convicted for theft offences in Austria and that investigation is now being progressed in a way that would not have been possible were it not for the Prum exchange,” he told MPs.
Brussels last year warned that UK access to the database could be restricted, even before the end of the post-Brexit transition period, unless the Government committed to share more information.
After meeting the bloc’s June 15 deadline, EU diplomats said a collapse in data sharing had been avoided.
They also claimed it would assist the two sides in their discussions over future security co-operation as part of the Brexit trade talks.
But sources warned negotiations over a future security relationship could still breakdown because of the UK’s refusal to allow the European Court of Justice a role in overseeing the potential pact.
A UK Government spokesman said: “The UK’s connection to Prom has led to tens of thousands of DNA profiles being matched and has supported UK law enforcement investigations of serious crimes, including rapes and murders.
“The exchange of suspects’ data with EU member states benefits our law enforcement agencies, strengthens operational co-operation, and enhances the safety of all our citizens.”
The Political Declaration, agreed by the UK and EU last autumn, commits both sides to seek a security pact with “reciprocal arrangements for timely, effective and efficient exchanges” of data.
Newly intensified negotiations will resume next week in the hope of striking a future relationship deal next month.
After a high-level meeting between Boris Johnson, European Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the UK and EU vowed to accelerate their efforts to find a compromise before the transition period expires at the end of the year.
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Jorg Kukies said: “The strategy of hope for the best, plan for the worst, I think is very prudent here.
“Every financial institution has to make sure that they are prepared for a hard Brexit, if and when it happens.
“We don’t want that and we hope that it can be avoided. But anyone who listens to the progress updates of the negotiating teams has to take into account that there is a very significant risk that we will go into a difficult situation.”