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Merkel’s Troubled Coalition Ally Seehofer Rebels, Backs UK Brexit Security Deal

Horst Seehofer, leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union's (CDU) Bavarian sister Party CSU, gestures during a press conference to present the electoral programme of the conservative CDU/CSU union for the September 24 parliamentary election on July 3, 2017 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should …
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images
LIAM DEACON

Germany’s anti-open borders interior minister has backed the UK in Brexit security talks and attacked Brussels negotiators for putting “the security of citizens at risk”.

Horst Seehofer, who is currently battling Chancellor Angela Merkel for more control on illegal migrants, said the dogmatic stance of unelected European Commission negotiators was stopping an “unlimited” security deal with Britain.

One week ago, Prime Minister Theresa May also warned European leaders that Brussels could put the lives of their citizens “at risk” if they block the UK from future security initiatives and cooperation for political reasons.

She made the appeal directly to the bloc’s 27 national leaders, who are accountable to their people, unlike the Brussels bosses.

The revelation was made in a private letter, dated June 27th and seen by the Financial Times, and represents the first time European unity on the terms of the divorce has been questioned by such a senior politician.

He argues that “ensuring the security of citizens in Europe should take precedence over all other aspects of exit negotiations”.

Adding: “Weakening the European security architecture would affect all EU citizens and undermine their fundamental need for security.

“The ever-present threat of cross-border terrorism shows the need for unlimited co-operation in future.”

Last month, a British spy chief revealed UK intelligence had helped foil terror plots across the bloc last year, in four separate nations.

The Commission has repeatedly said there can be no substantive talks on a security corporation arrangement after Brexit until Mrs May has agreed on a “backstop” proposal to keep the Irish border open.

They insist the UK cannot maintain the same level of access to information-sharing programmes – such as EU-wide fingerprint and criminal intelligence databases – and want to block Britain’s armed forces from accessing resources such as the EU satellite surveillance system Galileo.

Mr Seehofer’s letter appears to challenge the claim the UK must be treated like any other “third country” after it leaves the bloc.

The interior minister, of Chancellor Merkel’s conservative Bavarian sister party, plunged her coalition government into crisis last week by demanding failed asylum seekers are sent back to the border.

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