Quilliam Releases Report On “The EU and Terrorism: Is Britain Safer In or Out?”

30 May 2016

Quilliam’s new report “The EU and Terrorism: Is Britain Safer In or Out?” uproots misunderstandings, inaccuracies and myths about the security implications of Brexit. The report contains powerful forewords by Europol Director Rob Wainwright and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Rt Hon Crispin Blunt MP.

Quilliam Founding Chairman Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam Policy Analyst Julia Ebner have interviewed over 20 security experts across 6 different countries in 3 languages, resulting in the first rigorous, nuanced report on the impact of Brexit on terrorism and extremism-related threats.

Maajid Nawaz, Founding Chairman at Quilliam, said: “As Boris Johnson for Leave invoked Hitler as someone who would want us to stay in, and Prime Minister Cameron for Remain invoked ISIS leader Baghdadi as someone who prefers us to exit, we thought a balanced report on the security implications of our EU membership would be a good idea.”

Julia Ebner, Policy Analyst at Quilliam, said: “Fear rather than facts have shaped the Brexit debate. Both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain campaigners have capitalised on recent terrorist attacks to serve their political agenda. It is important to cast light on the facts.”

Quilliam has received exclusive insights from individuals such as former MI6 Director of Global Counter Terrorism Operations Richard Barrett, Head of NATO’s Counter-Terrorism section Juliette Bird, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Lord Carlile. This was coupled with research into legislative and statistical sources as well as case studies.

Rob Wainwright said: “This timely publication offers balanced, in-depth analysis of the UK’s security arrangements and the extent to which these depend on EU membership.

Rt Hon Crispin Blunt MP said: ‘Security should be a central theme in the referendum debate. I welcome this report which highlights our relationships with our European partners (…)’

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • The implications of Brexit are uncertain depend on the reactions of third parties and changing political contexts beyond our control. “Only the uncertainty of the consequences of Brexit is certain.”
  • Brexit might enable Britain to curb immigration, but the country will remain a primary terrorism target regardless of its EU membership.
  • The EU has provided the UK’s foreign policy with legitimacy, capacity and leverage but has also silenced Britain’s voice in some international organisations such as the OSCE.
  • The EU lacks a coherent counter-extremism strategy but by staying in, Britain can help to shape Europe-wide prevention policies.
  • Britain’s intelligence sharing will continue to predominantly take place bilaterally and with the Five Eyes alliance but it is in Britain’s interest to reduce its dependence on the US and diversify its intelligence sharing partners. Continental European agencies have different geographic expertise (e.g.: North Africa) and thematic strengths (e.g.: cyber threats).

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