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The security consequences of Brexit

Pro Brexit campaigners standing with signs outside the Houses of Parliament
Pro Brexit campaigners stand with signs outside the Houses of Parliament. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Washington Post has a good look this morning at the consequences Britain could face from Brexit: it could be tougher to stop terrorists from entering the country, harder to keep strong sanctions against Russia, and more difficult to maintain strong military spending.

Why it matters: Britain is locked in on Brexit, with a departure date of March 29 — but it's not clear how many people who voted for Brexit knew it could lead to all of these consequences.

Between the lines: Here's why Brexit could lead to these outcomes, per policymakers and analysts interviewed by the Post:

  • Security could be tougher because British police and counterterrorism officials have been able to use a European Union database to check people at border crossings and traffic stops — but E.U. officials say they probably won't be able to keep sharing that much information with a non-member.
  • Britain has had a large role in shaping E.U. sanctions policy, and has made it more hawkish — but that influence will end when it leaves the E.U.
  • And if it takes an economic hit from Brexit, it won't have as much money to spend on defense. (One warning sign for Britain, per the Post: Vladimir Putin is encouraging as hard and fast an exit as possible.)