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Britain unconditionally committed to maintaining European security - official document

Britain unconditionally committed to maintaining European security - official document”

The UK plans to keep contributing to European Union defence operations and agree joint foreign policy positions after Brexit, a government paper will set out later.

"What the United Kingdom is offering will be unprecedented in its breadth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence, security and development, and depth, in terms of the degree of engagement that the United Kingdom and the European Union should aim to deliver", the government said in a policy paper.

EU officials and diplomats expect May to make a keynote speech around September 21 and believe she may use it to outline the kind of transition arrangements Britain wants once it leaves the Union in March 2019 and before a long-term treaty setting out a free trade pact can be fully negotiated and implemented.

In a new official "position paper", ministers will spell out the scale and importance of Britain's military, defence and security assets and offer to continue close co-operation.

Prime Minister Theresa May warned in March - after triggering Article 50 and starting the divorce proceedings - that failing to reach a new trade deal once Britain leaves the bloc could damage cooperation against crime and terrorism.

The document, to be presented on Tuesday, sets out a vision of "a deep security partnership".

And Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the UK's role in the continent's defence had "never been more vital".

"We want this European Union role to continue after we leave", he said. "However, the European Parliament has made it clear that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations on the future European Union-United Kingdom relationship, they can not involve any trade-off between internal and external security, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand".

The position paper - the twelfth to be released by the British government - does not mention cooperation on cross-border crime or whether it will remain a member of Europol.

In confirming a delay until September 25, which Brussels had been expecting, the British government said in a statement it was a joint decision taken because "more time for consultation would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress".



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