Brexit (Security & Defence)
Brexit become a hot topic back in June 2016 when 52% of the people voted for their withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The United Kingdom (UK) is due to leave the EU in March 2019 and this has caused several implications to both security and defence aspects. Ever since Britain cited Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU, both the UK and EU have gone through numerous negotiations so that both parties can try to benefit from each other.
Although the UK has the strongest defence power within the EU, the UK would lose its impact and influence in the decision-making processes for operations and missions, and also the EUs defence policies. Since the UK government is currently overwhelmed by Brexit, it has resulted in a state of paralysis within the government which has rendered them unable to make any hard decisions (e.g. defence budget). (Ewen, 2018) This policy paralysis will slowly crumble the UKs military reputation worldwide.
There is a fine line between fighting regular crime and countering terrorism. Although the UK can benefit from the Europol for crimes, it is not crucial as a source of gathering intelligence of terror suspects. Information on terror suspects are often gathered by highly secretive agencies and are reluctant to share them in real time, to the Europol. (Frank, 2017) The UK also needs to pay special attention to Scotland, as being the only one with a land border with the UK, the government does not want to return to a hard border between the two countries and hopes that they can maintain their unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland.
Meanwhile over in the EU, they have taken steps to tighten their own defence ties. (CNA 2017) Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) aims to enhance EU coordination on defence and weapons systems development, ensures countries to provide "substantial support" in areas, including personnel, for EU military missions. Britain was also supportive of the agreement despite not signing the agreement. However, countries not in the EU can still take part in certain missions, opening the door to the possible participation of UK after they leave EU in 2019.
There are several reasons as to why the people of UK chose to leave the EU, one of the many reasons is the lost sense of security. The argument of political leaders that immigration benefits their economy was lost to the people who voted to leave the EU as they did not see the benefits of it. (Nic, 2016) Matters turned for the worst when immigration took on hues of Islamophobia as migrants sweeped from Middle East conflicts, people brought up fears of ISIS attacks, overcrowded schools and hospitals, and their own people being denied their rightful, state support due to newly arrived immigrants gathering their freebies. The EU was unfortunately unable to hold them back. The people of the UK no longer trust their leadership. The people wanted back control, not just from Europe, but from their own runaway politicians.
Singapore and the UK are good partners, but Britain is only No.22 on the list of Singapores trading partners. (Grace, 2016) This means that Brexit will affect Singapore marginally as of now, but longer-term impacts can be expected. Our Ministry of Trade and Industry has said that Britain will need to renegotiate new agreements with Singapore, as they will no longer be covered by existing EU agreements. Negotiations for a new trade deal could take awhile, businesses have to struggle with a lack of information, and replacing EUs free trade deal with Asia will have a big toll on Britain. Both investors and businesses will have to work around this outcome. (CNA, 2016)
Ewen, M. (2018, Feb 06) Brexit undermining UK armed forces, defence expert warns. Retrieved from
Frank, G. (2017, Mar 30) Secure exit? How will Brexit affect UK security? Retrieved from
Channel News Asia (2017, Nov 14) EU countries sign key defence pact. Retrieved from
Channel News Asia (2016, Jun 24) Brexit vote a ‘turning point’: PM Lee. Retrieved from
Nic, R. (2016, Jun 24) A look at Brexit: Why are the Brits thumbing their noses at Europe? Retrieved from
Grace, L. (2016, Jun 29) How does Brexit affect Singapore. Retrieved from