Stop panting, British intelligence will remain

The Telegraph has another “EU-is-taking-over” story today about how moves to create a European intelligence service will jeopardise the work of British spies.

Improving intelligence cooperation and information-sharing inside the EU is important both to help combat terrorism and to provide the necessary intelligence for ESDP missions, such as the EULEX mission in Kosovo.
A first step towards improving intelligence-sharing was the establishment of the Joint Situation Center (SITCEN) for intelligence analysis within the Council Secretariat. One of its goals is to bring together experts from both the intelligence and security services.

For a while federalist-minded politicians have tried to push the idea further. In 2004, Finnish and Austrian politicians proposed to take this further, creating an EU intelligence service.

But this has gone – and will go – nowhere. Nor is it even clear how such a service would function. Creating trained and experienced staff, investing in technology, networks, agents etc is beyond what the EU can do.

Whilst EU-level bodies may develop their analytical functions, creating a cadre of analysts that may even sit in EC Delegations, no serious analyst believes that the member states will loose full control of operational decisions, information gatheredm their network of sources etc.

But don’t let that stop a story like the one the Telegraph is running.