While it is disappointing that the UK will no longer be a member of the European Police Agency, Europol, after Brexit, it is hardly surprising news. This is yet another disaster for the UK following on from the decision of the European Commission to withdraw the UK’s entry to European Capital of Culture (ECOC), and it will not be the last. For as long as this Conservative Government chases a ‘hard-brexit’ and a total breakaway from our European neighbours, we will continue to be shut out of Europe-wide institutions, agreements, projects and programmes.
The UK Government have entered these negotiations with the mind-set of a child, demanding to have their cake and eating it, they want to be members of Europol but not members of the customs union, they want to participate in the ECOC, but not be members of the European Economic Area. Ultimately, they want the benefits of the European Union without paying anything in, and they are now acting surprised and shocked that the EU has turned around and said “Non”.
We must now campaign hard for a change in direction of these negotiations. We are almost half-way towards Brexit and we have made minimal progress. This Government has lurched from one disaster to another, refusing to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and turning their back on the poorest and most vulnerable people of Britain.
It is time that this shambolic Tory Government stood aside and let a Labour Government take the lead in the Brexit negotiations. We will work to retain the benefits of the single market and customs union, immediately guarantee EU citizens’ rights and work with the EU to avoid the no deal situation we are hurtling towards under the Tories.