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Debates
Wednesday, 1 March 2017 - Brussels Revised edition

17. Preparation of the European Council meeting of 9 and 10 March 2017 (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  Geoffrey Van Orden, on behalf of the ECR Group . – Madam President, on economic issues businesses need regulatory certainty and economic stability if they are to grow. As the United Kingdom will undoubtedly be leaving the European Union in the next two years or so, and given the intensity and importance of the economic relationship between the UK and its continental neighbours, it is clearly in the interests of both the EU and the UK that the new strategic partnership, based on amicable and sensible arrangements, is agreed as quickly as possible. We start from a position of regulatory equivalence and mutual recognition of standards – maximum continuity and deep mutual market access will therefore be a great economic reassurance on both sides of the Channel.

In terms of internal security, it is clearly in the interests of all our nations that the opportunities for cooperation between our police, security and intelligence agencies is maximised. Many of the problems that have been identified following terrorist attacks in recent years concern the workings of security agencies within States, rather than between them. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation between countries has generally been good, and Europol has often played a useful role in this. The United Kingdom has highly effective and internationally respected security and intelligence capabilities. They have proved their value across Europe and beyond, and it is very much in the interest of the EU in particular, as well as the UK, that arrangements are put in place to ensure that these operational relationships are maintained in the years ahead.

On defence, while some transatlanticists here suggested EU defence ambitions are about reinforcing NATO, the reality is different. The ambition is for an autonomous military capability and just at the time when the democracies need to be standing together in solidarity, when that great transatlantic security bond of NATO should be revitalised, the EU is pursuing a separate agenda. This is dangerous. Some have suggested that the new US administration was anti-NATO and this underlined the need for some separate agenda. Nothing could be further from reality and the new American President has underlined yet again his strong support for NATO.

 
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