UK faces Brexit dilemma over Europol

The Wall Street Journal reports: The U.K. government will be cut off in May from Europol, the European Union police agency that runs the bloc’s databases on criminals and counterterrorism, unless it explicitly adopts a new EU law.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU in the June referendum could put new Prime Minister Theresa May in the awkward position of having to opt into a piece of EU legislation while preparing to untangle the country from its obligations under EU law.

The U.K.’s participation in Europol can continue beyond the spring only if the new government in London agrees to the agency’s new legal status, which comes into force on May 1, 2017.

The new Europol law, adopted by the European Parliament in May, will put the agency under the European Parliament’s scrutiny—a move the U.K. opposed when it was negotiated—and make it easier to set up specialized units to fight terrorism and organized crime.

A spokeswoman for the British government said no decision has yet been taken on Britain’s endorsement of the law, having been left for the consideration of Ms. May, the former home secretary. She added that London still has time to opt into the new Europol law before it comes into force.

“It would be odd for them to opt in while they’re negotiating Brexit, but luckily she’s been a minister of interior for the past six years, so she knows what’s at stake,” said one EU diplomat familiar with the discussions. [Continue reading…]

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