The British Government had asked the European Union to allow it to maintain similar access to security databases that it enjoyed while still an EU member. In particular, ministers were keen to retain access to Europol’s central intelligence database (EIS) and the the Schengen Information System (SIS II), a database used by European border control agencies. However, Germany led vocal opposition to British demands to retain the status quo on data exchange after Brexit.
Last April, Christian Perry from Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) told The Guardian: “The Brexiteers have always disparaged the EU as undemocratic.
“To now dictate to the EU as a third country how we should organise our inner security, that would indeed be undemocratic.
“It would not only be ‘cherry-picking on speed’, but set a fatal precedent.
“With what arguments could we respond to wishes from other states with similar ideas?”
However, in a landmark preliminary decision on Friday, the EU has agreed to allow crime, health and insurance data to continue to flow freely between the UK and the bloc.
This opens the way for the continued exchanges of files between UK and EU law enforcement agencies.
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The decision could theoretically still be challenged by any EU government through the European Court of Justice and still needs to be ratified.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, welcomed the draft decisions, telling The Daily Telegraph that they “rightly reflect the UK’s commitment to high data protection standards and pave the way for their formal approval”.
He added: “Although the EU’s progress in this area has been slower than we would have wished, I am glad we have now reached this significant milestone.”