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    'If Europe Wants Future for Its Defense It Needs UK'- Analyst

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    A hard Brexit could weaken the EU's security and jeopardize the lives of its citizens. This is what Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a letter to the European Commission. Seehofer warned Brussels that its unyielding approach to Brexit could hinder reaching an unlimited security deal with the UK.

    Sputnik discussed the issue with Alexis Poulin, a leading EU policy analyst and co-editor of Le Monde Moderne.

    Sputnik: In your view, how justified are these concerns over a hard Brexit weakening the EU's security?

    Alexis Poulin: To me, Brexit is not a reality so far, in one years' time it seems to me very short before anybody reaches an agreement and the fact that a German minister is talking about an EU affair with the like of what's happened in Britain, raises a lot of questions: what is the question behind this; I think it's about sovereignty, of course, and what the EU can do to guarantee a soft Brexit. Or will the Brexit ever happen is a question, because if you look at the position of Theresa May right now, it is very difficult, they have a big meeting of ministers right now discussing what they can do, there's a lot of communication around it, but I can't see a plan. So far, the Brits haven't been very upfront in saying what exactly they want so the discussion can move on.

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    There's not a single line of a plan because the Tories are disagreeing over Brexit, the UK people voted for Brexit but now they say that the vote was actually stolen by the campaign with this Cambridge Analytica scandal. The people want a revote or at least have something that will change it and, of course, as you know it has now been decided that elected members of parliament will decide, in the end, if this deal is good or not. All this drama is something very unrealistic for the British people; for the British government, it's more of internal politics than EU politics.

    The EU has been very clear saying that if you want to leave explain to us how you want to leave and how much you want to put on the table, if you look at the business community, if you look at the people living in the UK or outside of the UK, everybody wants a link or keep the good things of the EU but not have a hard leave and close the borders. You know that there's also the Irish border, which is the big issue that hasn't been discussed yet, and I think what Seehofer tried to say is maybe we should think and discuss another path because the discussion is going nowhere at the moment.

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    Sputnik: Europe's Brexit negotiator has stated that Brussels is ready to change its Brexit offer if Theresa May's government shifts on its red lines. What do you think London will need to change? And how likely is it that May's cabinet will actually do that?

    Alexis Poulin: It's all about the free movement of people and goods and keeping on with the same level of integration that they had in the unified market so far, but also I think it's about the commitments because, let's be clear, if Europe wants a future for its European defense, it's not going to work very well without the UK. So there should be some further commitments on international cooperation. It's best that the UK gets a deal with everyone and says "it's okay we [will] not give as much money as before but we still have cooperation on several different issues."

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    Sputnik: As far as what Seehofer said in his letter, do you think there's much support for that?

    Alexis Poulin: I don't know, I think he's campaigning right now because the elections are coming up in Germany, so you see him on the international stage like you've never seen before. He's been clashing with Merkel for the same purpose, because Bavaria will be at stake at the end of the year, and clearly it's an internal policy trend of trying to make as much noise as possible to get many [votes] for his party in the upcoming elections.

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    Sputnik: Theresa May is in talks right now, in very serious negotiations. What are your expectations? Do you think we can expect any kind of movement forward as far as talks with the EU right now?

    Alexis Poulin: For sure Theresa May will have to have a lot of diplomacy going on within her party and the majority so she would go on saying, "now we have to have a clear line and be all aligned with this line," this is what the meeting this weekend is about, that the UK government should speak with one voice. And it hasn't happened since Theresa May came back into the office from promoting Brexit and saying it's going to be a great thing and we're going to make it happen. Either people who disagree with her have to leave or they have to agree or she'll have to leave in the end. The big question is what will the Tories make out of this?

    The views and opinions expressed by Alexis Poulin are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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