Brexit and the Military

26 June 2017

Despite Britain leaving the EU, it is in the interest of both the UK and the EU to remain partners and maintain close security cooperation. Several sectors will be greatly affected as negotiations are made, here are a few of the military relevant ones:


Brexit and Military Workers


There are 3.3 million EU nationals living and working the UK at the moment, a good proportion of which who work in the military. If immigration rules and visa laws are to become stricter following Brexit, the military could see a drop in numbers. The uncertainty of Brexit has already prevented a lot of EU citizens from settling in the UK, at least until the direction and type of Brexit are established. This means that the UK will have to put even more investment into British citizens to encourage them to join the Military to try and keep up with the upcoming servicemen and women shortages.


Brexit and Military Spending


UK Public Spending stated that for the fiscal year ending in March 2017, the UK Defence spending was reported to be £45.6 billion, meeting the 2% of GDP target. However the budget is highly dependent on the economic conditions, and with the uncertainty of Brexit, the British GDP may be lower than expected, making the Military budget lower than expected. Additionally, the fall in the value of the pound will further impact defence and security, so its stabilisation is crucial to the Defence sector.


Brexit and Security


Data sharing through the security network and infrastructure of the EU is of the utmost importance and without proper negotiations, the UK could lose access to crucial platforms which deal with organised crime, cyber threats and terrorism. An example of one of these platforms is Europol. Europol is the law enforcement agency of the European Union which handles criminal intelligence and organised crime working with customs, immigration services, border and financial police etc. Other issues may, for example, be the time taken to transfer DNA and fingerprint information. A lack of access to the European Arrest Warrant will mean that extradition of suspects and criminals to prosecute from EU member states will be more difficult and time-consuming. Other platforms the UK may suffer with are Eurojust and the European Anti-Fraud Office. It is likely that Britain will be pushing to seek cooperation with EU when it comes to defence and security matters to prevent the UK from taking a step back in this sector.