The Latest: Police chief thinks Brexit won't increase crime

AP News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2017 12:37 PM
The Latest: Police chief thinks Brexit won't increase crime

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain's decision to leave the European Union (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

London's police chief says he doesn't think Britain's exit from the European Union will hurt international cooperation on fighting crime and terrorism.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe says he expects Brexit to be "neutral" in its impact.

Hogan-Howe told journalists on Wednesday that Britain should be able to retain some association with the EU police organization, Europol, and "maintain similar arrangements" to the current EU-wide extradition warrant.

He says cross-border cooperation is essential to deal with the threat posed by the 12,000 people from Europe who traveled to areas of Syria controlled by the Islamic State group.

Many are expected to return home as the territory controlled by IS shrinks.

Hogan Howe says they will return "militarized, brutalized" and with militant contacts, and "all of Europe will have to consider how we deal with that threat."

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5:10 p.m.

European Union legislators lashed out at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for saying Britain's decision to leave the bloc would turn out great and predicting other countries would follow.

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE liberal group in the European Parliament, said Wednesday "it is insane" for a foreign leader to meddle in European politics like that and called for a much stronger EU reaction.

Manfred Weber, leader of the biggest parliamentary group, the EPP Christian Democrats, said no one should underestimate the EU as an economic juggernaut on the world stage.

Weber said: "I want to stress that the EU is as large as the U.S. in economic terms."

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4:40 p.m.

Slovakia's prime minister says the forthcoming negotiations over Britain's departure from the European Union will be "very tough and painful."

Prime Minister Robert Fico says it would not be right for the 27 remaining EU countries to "emerge weakened and Britain strengthened."

Fico says that would set "the worst possible example" for other countries facing pressure from some of the public to also bail out of the EU.

Reacting to British Prime Minister Theresa May's Tuesday speech on Brexit, Fico said Wednesday the new relations between Britain and the EU will have to be "in balance."

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4:35 p.m.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan carmaker alliance, says he's confident Britain will negotiate a deal on its exit from the European Union that will safeguard the future of the Nissan plant in Sunderland, England.

Last year, Ghosn had raised the possibility of moving the plant, which employs 7,000, but in October said he'd been reassured by the British government about the plant's future. That stocked speculation the government had offered incentives.

Ghosn said Wednesday, without elaborating, that anything that would be a "very big negative" for exporters could lead to a "change in policy" by his company. But he said he's "not foreseeing" that because "I know that this is something that's going to be at center stage of preoccupation of the British government."

Speaking to The Associated Press at the World Economic Forum, Ghosn said Tuesday's speech by Prime Minister Theresa May, in which she signaled the country will leave the EU single market, has not changed anything.

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3 p.m.

Britain's Supreme Court says it will give its highly anticipated judgment in a legal battle over Brexit next week.

Britain's highest court will deliver its judgment on Jan. 24 on whether Prime Minister Theresa May can formally begin the process of leaving the European Union without Parliament's approval.

The High Court decided in November that May did not have the authority to use so-called "prerogative powers" to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty — the formal procedure to begin exit talks — without Parliament having a say.

The government is asking 11 Supreme Court judges to overturn that decision.

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2:50 p.m.

European Union President Donald Tusk is warning Britain that it will not be able to "pick and choose" its way through its negotiations to leave the bloc.

Tusk said Tuesday's speech in which British Prime Minister Theresa May said control over immigration trumped its continued membership in the EU single market meant that London realized how united the other 27 nations were. The remaining member states have steadfastly said that Britain cannot both have limits on the travel of EU citizens and guaranteed trade access to the continent.

Tusk said the speech "proves that the unified position of 27 member states on the indivisibility of the single market was finally understood and accepted by London."

"It would be good if our partners also understood that there will be no place for pick-and-choose tactics in our future negotiations."

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2 p.m.

As Theresa May extols Britain's close friendship with its European neighbors, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is being criticized for comparing French President Francois Hollande to a World War II prison-camp guard.

Johnson was asked about a reported comment from one of Hollande's aides, saying Britain should not expect a better trading relationship with Europe once it is outside the EU.

Johnson said on a trip to India that "if M. Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who chooses to escape, rather in the manner of some World War II movie, then I don't think that that is the way forward and I don't think it's in the interests of our friends and partners."

British Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called the remark "crass and clueless."

May's spokeswoman, Helen Bower, defended Johnson, saying "he was making a point. He was in no way suggesting that anyone was a Nazi."

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1:15 p.m.

The European Union will hold a special summit of 27 nations to set up a mandate for its negotiating team that will have to find a deal with Britain on the terms of its departure.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta, which holds the EU presidency, said the EU leaders would have to meet about a month after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers the negotiations, which is expected around the end of March.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that he was "not in a hostile mood" because of the impending departure but stressed it will be tough to negotiate with a longtime member which "will be seen as a third country."

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1:10 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pledging to ensure that the Brexit process doesn't divide Europe, and she says she's confident that it won't drive a wedge between governments and business.

Merkel said after meeting her Italian counterpart Wednesday that British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech setting out plans for a clean break from the European Union has offered "a clearer impression" of what London wants. But she stressed that negotiations will begin only when Britain formally triggers exit talks.

Merkel added: "The be-all and end-all is that Europe does not let itself be divided, and we will ensure that with very intensive contacts." She said that governments will consult with their business sectors, and she's "not worried that we will not stick together."

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said that "there will be solidarity among ourselves; there will of course also be friendship toward the United Kingdom."

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10:50 a.m.

The head of the European Union presidency warns of an "arduous task" ahead in the EU's talks with Britain over its decision to leave the bloc and said Prime Minister Theresa May would find a united group across the negotiating table.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta, which holds the EU rotating presidency, told the EU legislature that May's desire for a far-reaching free trade deal and other relations with the bloc once it had departed had to be "necessarily inferior to membership."

Muscat said that even during transitional periods as Britain detaches itself, "European rules and institutions cannot be compromised" and said it "will be an arduous task."

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British Prime Minister Theresa May's promise of a clean but friendly exit from the European Union drew strikingly different responses Wednesday: optimism in Britain, skepticism on the other side of the English Channel.

Buoyant British officials hailed May's aim of "a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU" alongside new trade deals between the U.K. and other nations.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says countries were "already queuing up" to make deals.

But European officials poured cold water on U.K. optimism about a smooth, mutually beneficial Brexit. European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the "days of U.K. cherry-picking and Europe a la carte are over."