PM speech at Munich Security Conference: 17 February 2018

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Series Details 17.02.18
Publication Date 17/02/2018
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United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech at the 2018 Munich Security Conference on the 17 February 2018. The speech was part of a series by UK government ministers called Road to Brexit given during February 2018, which attempted to outline more clearly to European partners what type of future relationship the UK wanted with the EU after it left the Union. The first speech in the series had been given by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the 14 February 2018.

In the speech Mrs May argued that UK security at home was best advanced through global cooperation, working with institutions that supported that - including the EU. As the UK left the EU and forged a new path in the world, the UK was just as committed to Europe’s security in the future. She said 'Europe’s security is our security'.

She called for a new 'special partnership' ... 'between the UK and the EU, to retain the co-operation that we have built and go further in meeting the evolving threats we face together'.

She urged European Union leaders to put 'deep-seated ideology' to one side to allow for a new security partnership with the UK after Brexit.

In response to the speech by Mrs May in Munich European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that continued fence and security co-operation was in both parties’ interests but could not be 'mixed up' with the wider Brexit negotiations.

'This security alliance, this security bridge between the UK and the EU will be maintained, we still need it', he said.

Munich Security Conference chairman, Wolfgang Ischinger, told Mrs May 'things would be so much easier' if the UK stayed in the EU.


Following the decision of the United Kingdom in the referendum of June 2016 to leave the European Union and the ensuing negotiations Britain claimed it still wanted to maintain a close security relationship with its European partners.

The United Kingdom government issued on the 12 September 2017 the ninth of a series of papers putting forward its negotiating position on the UK’s future partnership with the European Union (EU). It was published in the context of the negotiations being undertaken with the EU for the UK to leave the union following the Brexit referendum vote of June 2016. The report was called Foreign policy, defence and development: a future partnership paper.

This paper discussed options for foreign policy, defence and development collaboration in the proposed future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom government also issued on the 12 September 2017 the tenth in the series of papers. It was called Security, law enforcement and criminal justice: a future partnership paper.

This paper discussed options for maintaining internal security collaboration in the future partnership.

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EurActiv, 17.02.18: Juncker warns against ‘mixed up’ Brexit talks, after May requests defence treaty
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The Conversation, 19.02.18: Theresa May just made a major Brexit concession in Munich
Deutsche Welle, 17.02.18: Theresa May calls for UK-EU security agreement
The New York Times, 17.02.18: Theresa May, in Munich, Calls for Swift Security Pact and Offers Concession
Carnegie Europe, 17.02.18: What Theresa May Wants from the EU
The Guardian, 16.02.18: [Editorial]: The Guardian view on Theresa May’s Munich speech: partnership should be indivisible
The UK in a Changing Europe, 12.02.18: Brexit hokey cokey: the UK may be in (and out) of EU foreign policy, security and defence policy during transition
ECFR: Commentary, 01.02.18: The Brexit threat to Britain's defence industry (et al)
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
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Politico, 17.02.18: Theresa May to EU: Put aside Brexit ‘ideology’ on security
EurActiv, 30.03.18: UK’s tortured approach to EU defence takes new twist

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