In an interview with Sputnik, Lars Hilse, digital strategy consultant and expert on cyber terrorism, said that the UK would shoot itself in the knee if it were to drop its ties with Europe.
The interview came amid media reports that Germany is concerned about the UK’s alleged plans to put an end to its intelligence-sharing program because of Brexit.
According to documents seen by the Guardian, the German Interior Ministry is already lobbying the British government to renew its role in Europol before its current collaboration runs out in May 2017.
Berlin is reportedly worried that if Britain pulls out of the intelligence collaboration, it will create “a moment of weakness” in the fight against terrorism and jeopardize security across the EU.
“I think that the government of the United Kingdom would shoot itself in the knee if it were to drop its ties with the EU because there is obviously a lot of intelligence [information] coming from Europe which is very important for Britain and vice versa,” Hilse said.
Separately, he specifically underscored the importance of the intelligence services being meticulously supervised.
“It is safe to say that the services are moving in the direction of becoming a state within a state, so to say. In this regard, we have first of all to protect the security of the people and secondly, to make sure that the intelligence services are being well supervised by parliament,” he said.
He also called for maintaining ties between the UK and continental Europe and Europol in terms of intelligence sharing, citing a spate of challenges, including the migration crisis, that may complicate security.
By dropping out of Europol, the UK would automatically be shut out of a number of other agencies and intelligence cooperation programs, such as the Schengen-wide information system SIS II.
Speaking to the Guardian, unnamed German officials expressed hope that UK Prime Minister Theresa May would appreciate the value of cooperating on counter-terrorism measures.
At the same time, they warned that Britain’s opting out of the agency could potentially give rise to even more informal and less democratically accountable forms of information-sharing.
On June 23, the United Kingdom held a referendum to determine whether or not the country should leave the European Union. According to the final results, 51.9 percent of voters, or 17.4 million people, decided to support Brexit, while about 16.1 million opposed it.